8th October 2017 saw Leighton Buzzard Triathlon Club at the  Ridgeway Run in Tring for the first race of 2017/18 cross country championship.

After collecting my bib number I made my way to the start line with fellow LB Tri Club members and around 600 other enthusiastic runners. We were about to embark on what Tring Running Club, the organisers, describe as ‘A challenging trail run of approximately 15 kilometres, over a scenic route mainly on footpaths and bridleways with stunning Chiltern views.’ It was cool and sunny, giving a pleasant Autumn morning – perfect conditions for a race.

At 10am we were off! The course consisted of one big loop with a little out-and-back tail at the beginning and end. The first couple of kilometres were on narrow trails, where we had to run in single file. This steadied the pace up although it meant not setting off too fast and saving the legs for the hills ahead.

The course gradually ascended into Ashridge Forest until the 5km point where there was a steep hill up to the Bridgewater Monument. This raised the heart rate and on reaching the top you were rewarded with beautiful views of the rolling Chiltern countryside.

The course then followed an undulating section of the Ridgeway path and just after 9km we emerged out of the trees to climb Pitstone Hill.  Upon reaching the top of the hill I took a moment to enjoy the spectacular views (as advertised) and take on an energy gel.

This was the last of the hills (thankfully!) and the course gradually descended back along footpaths and road into Tring and the finish at the cricket club.

As I approached the finish line there was a crowd of LB Tri  supporters and runners who had finished cheering me on.

I was pleased to cross the line in 1:38:59 and collect a finishers t-shirt as a memento.

Thanks to Tring Running Club for putting on a well-organised event with lots of marshals along the course, chip timing and free race photos. I would highly recommend it.

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