For those of us at Great Bentley RC who have participated in an Alexander Trail Run, it comes as no surprise that the advertised distance can be described as “ish”. Add that to the fact that at some stage of the run it’s possible to take a wrong turn, miss a sign post whilst gossiping or be totally useless at navigation then the distance and frustration can increase! Sunday saw many of the usual suspects hotfoot it over to Alton Water for another of the “trail masters” events. The last time Bentley collected at this beautiful venue, the weather was abysmal! Torrential rain made for a very unpleasant experience, one lap of this manmade reservoir was enough for most. This time though the weather really couldn’t have been more different. A beautifully sunny and warm morning dawned over the region as a good number arrived to take on the thirteen mile distance. Staggered starts across the dam for each pairing or foursome kicked off from about 8am. Trail running is all about escaping off road, running through woods and meadows. It’s a fabulous way to see more of the countryside and is a great supplement to training runs as the often softer ground gives the body a break and the undulating terrain helps provide a good core workout. Without doubt it often breaks up the monotony of long distance road running. Trails are usually unmarked and participants must navigate their way by following universally abbreviated directions. Be prepared to pay attention to avoid taking a wrong turn!
Some stunning scenery accompanied great company as the Bentley Blues ran uphill and down dale. Taking in the surrounding villages of Stutton, Harkstead and Ewarton. Also touching on the fringes of the Shotley Peninsula before finally returning across the dam to the finish. Runners were bathed in glorious sunshine the whole way round.
Current countryside Queens are Tonie Wilson and her trail buddy Tricia Stacey, who are on 295 points each, closely followed by Lorna Sharp on 285. The Kings are currently being led by Paul Carlisle who is holding Andy Fuller off by 19 points, 297 and 278 respectively.
So far four of the five outings have been held around the area, with the culmination taking place as a night trail from Great Bentley. As always those wishing to count their endeavours towards the Championship must take on four of the events.