The Greenman Challenge Ultra per Giles

The day started at 0700 at Ashton Court at the start of the Greenman Challenge Ultra a 45 mile route around Bristol on the community forest path. This has to be completed in sub 12 hours to gain the title of an honourable Woodwose.

It was raining with low cloud in the distance up to Dundry 5 miles away. It had also been raining most of the night, so perfect conditions for testing out the Salomon XR Crossmax shoes and Gore Running Weartm. Pete from Salomon unwrapped 20 pairs of nice new shiny XR Crossmax designed for such an event as the Greenman Challenge Ultra.

Jon from Gore let participants use the Gore Running Weartm for the whole of the 45 mile ultra.

Both the XR shoes and the Gore run wear by Dundry were caked in mud and sodden, but the 22 participants of the Greenman Challenge Ultra were in fine fettle.

By 21 miles at Shortwood Hill there was a change over of guides. The group had split in to two groups now. The strain of the conditions was beginning to rear its ugly head and it was not raining but underfoot was hideously wet and boggy. By the time we reached Keynsham we had lost 3 runners, who self extracted.

Hambrook was at 26 miles so we setup a replenish point and a sports therapist in case of any injuries. Gore supplied fresh socks and Salomon supplied their new EXO calf guards.

It had taken over 6 hours to reach this point with another 19 miles to go.

There were doubts whether the runners would make the 12 hour cut off time back to Ashton Court. 2 more competitors dropped out as intended.

The next 19 miles was a mix of trail and road but there were more road sections which made for a faster second half of the Greenman. Again the Salomon XR was outstanding in giving cushioning and support on the road as it has been designed to do.

We met the first of the lead runners at 33 miles, the group was looking strong and dug in deep and would make the 12 hour cut off time. There were two more groups to come, these groups were looking tired but again all were committed to finishing this Ultra, all would make the 45 miles in less than 12 hours.

At the finish at Ashton Court the first group of runners came in at 9hours 46. The second group 10 hours 31 and the final group at 10 hour 47 – who came home in the dark. All were shattered and broken but with smiles from ear to ear with knowledge of what they had just achieved.

The Dovecote pub is where we ended up for slaps on the back and a well deserved pint. But most importantly all the runners who completed the 45 mile Greenman Challenge Ultra were to be entered into the Honourable Woodwose book of finishers and were given a certificate to be reminded of their achievement.       

Giles Heeks – Event Organiser        

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