After The Black Death

A week has now passed since Webtogs team members Mike and Myself (Phil) took on The Black Death Run, a 10 mile cross-country run at Combe Sydenham, West Somerset (see my previous post for details). After a busy week of adding new Summer Rab products to Webtogs, I’ve finally got time for a quick write-up. Of course, if you’re more interested in the new Rab stuff, I don’t blame you one bit – But more on that next week.

Thankfully Mike, Myself, my girlfriend Eilis, and friend Yuno all completed the run… sort of. I say sort of because about 3/4 of the entire field managed to get lost, the result being that the ‘finishers’ ended up running anything between 6 and 14 miles on various loops through the forest. The cause it seems, was a rather amusing one, though not particularly funny on the day…

From left to right: Yuno, Phil, Eilis, Mike. The first 2 miles of uphill would rapidly wipe those smiles off our faces
What a rag-tag group. From left to right: Yuno, Phil, Eilis, Mike. The first 2 miles of uphill would rapidly wipe those smiles off our faces.

It became clear with hindsight that there was was a shortage of marshals on the course, exaggerated by a last-minute route change due to logging operations. As a result, a sign on the route apparently blew over in strong winds mid-race, and without a race marshal on hand to re-erect it, a group of runners following a split in the field were able to take a wrong turn. They were followed by many, many more. Oblivious to this navigational error and following the people in front of us, we didn’t realise we were off course until we passed a point we’d already passed once before, and were met with a feeling of serious déjà vu. Some of the leading runners even completed the same loop 3 times before being told by marshals and fellow competitors that there wasn’t even supposed to be a loop on the course.

Anyway, the short of it is that some determined (or completely lost) people either made up the miles as best they could, or ran further than the planned 10 miles through involuntary repetition. Many more runners, demoralised and lost, headed straight for the finish.

At the reassuring Start/Finish line!
At the reassuring Start/Finish line, with a ‘completion’ medal. Wearing the Montane Fireball Smock, Smartwool PHD Calf Compressors and just-visible XSocks – all of course from Webtogs!

Despite this significant mishap, it was a good day overall. We ran at least the majority of the distance, including the thigh-burning 2 mile opening climb. What we did run of the course was a great mix of muddy logging tracks, forest paths and even part of a mountain bike course. It was also particularly exhilarating to run the final few hundred metres past crowds of cheering onlookers and a full samba band: quite surreal, but a fine medicine for the frustration of getting lost! So not such a bad 1st running event for myself and Eilis after all. Having said that, we have both been left with slight a feeling of unfinished business…

Luckily we have another run coming up on July 15th, this time the 10k Haldon Tight near Exeter. Still pushing for our first full event completion – Second time lucky!

There's definitely a theme here...
There’s definitely a theme here…

Thanks for reading one and all,

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