Rowe Running

Nutbourne Vineyard Run - 19 May 2024

By on david bognor regis tone zone runners

At the end of April I took part in my running clubs Bognor 10k practice run. Sharon convinced me to go and do it as I wasn’t doing the race proper a couple of weeks later due to being plain unfit, injured and having not run 10k in over a year. I went off a bit quick and was really struggling after 5k. I finished the flat route in about 54:30 - it was hard hard work.

I went out and ran (not as far as 10k) mid-week for the next couple of weeks and it was starting to feel a bit easier.

On Friday morning I woke up to an email from a friend asking if I’d like to take her place in an off road trail fun-run/race two days later. It was a multi-lap course, you choose how many laps you want to do and you run anywhere between 2.5k and a half marathon (just over 21k). The event is organised by a personal training/bootcam company, takes place twice a year and has been happening for a few years.

Ordinarily I’d have said no but this run was being held at a vineyard and every competitor gets a glass of wine and a slice of cake at the end. It didn’t take me long to say YES!

The event was held at Nutbourne Vineyard - just over half an hour’s drive from home. The weather was glorious and it was very low key. You arrive (park in a lovely little orchard), collect your number and wait for the safety briefing.

I took trail shoes as there was talk of a muddy section of the course and lined up with about 100 others - with nobody knowing how many laps each other was planning to do. At the end of each lap (which is approx 2.5k) you decide whether to finish or turn around and carry on - and if you finish just let the timekeeper know you’ve finished and your number of laps. It’s that simple. I was hoping to run four laps, which is approximately 10k.

Just before the start

Part of the route early into each lap

It’s a hilly route, and around 800ft of climbing over 10k (which I think is quite a lot) - for someone who only ever really runs on a flat promenade by the sea then this is something I’m certainly not ready for. And it’s muddy in places - very muddy. Trail shoes were worn and suncream applied as the weather was beautiful. Each lap had a mixture or gravel tracks, tarmac, grass/fields, ankle deep mud, very narrow trails, steep climbs (and descents), tree roots, kissing gates, stiles, low branches and a small wooden bridge to cross.

About 30 seconds after the start

It was a fast start to the run - mainly to try and get into a reasonable position before the route got narrow. I was in about seventh or eighth position once we settled into the climbing (which is mostly in the first half of each lap). The first lap was uneventful - apart from contending for the first time all the obstacles previously mentioned!

During the second lap I started to catch up with slower runners and everyone was incredibly polite in moving aside to let faster runners through. This wasn’t a race for medals or prizes. Everyone gets rewarded at the end (did I mention the cake and wine!) and there was no rush as such.

I found myself during the first two laps settled into a position not far behind a lady from the Midhurst Milers running club. We ran at pretty much the exact same speed the whole way round. As we got to the end of our second lap (5k) it looked like the other runners further ahead of us had stopped at 5k. I believe at this point she was in the lead and I wasn’t too far behind.

Drinks from my 'assistant' Sharon

At the start and end of each lap there’s a short out and back section where near the turnaround (and finish) Sharon would pass me a bottle of drink and 30 seconds later after a couple of mouthfuls I’d pass it back to her. This was ideal. It was hot and hard work. My right knee wasn’t giving me any pain - as my legs and lungs were hurting more!

On the final lap I caught right up with the lady I’d been trailing - she heard me come up behind her and asked if I was on my fifth lap (and about to lap her). I said I wasn’t and I’d been following her round for four laps - and that four was my limit and I was going to finish at the end of the current lap. She said she was also (only) doing four laps and asked if I wanted to come past her. I was not in any position to do so and thus declined.

I followed her all the way to the finish line - with her finishing a handful of seconds ahead of me. She finished 1st in the 10k and I was 2nd. There were 23 people who completed two laps.

My time was 54:38 for 6.33 miles (according to my GPS), which is just under 10.2km. I was very happy with this - pretty much the same time I struggled with a few weeks ago on a flat 10k practice run. I worked hard and it was mighty hilly.

Shortly after finishing and collecting my medal I went straight for refueling and hydration - a chocolate brownie and a Rose Blush wine.

What a civilised way to end a fun race/fun run.

Post race refreshments

© David & Sharon Rowe - - email me