This morning I was full of fear but by the time I'd pinned my number on and found my way to the start, I was already starting to enjoy my day. Runners are friendly folk and more than one old hand took pity on me, recognising a newcomer and offering a word of comfort.
I think that there were several hundred competitors. By the time I'd crossed the startline and made it to the top of the first climb, I could see the leaders way out in front. I've been running up to 12 miles in training and had planned to keep a steady pace (I'd reckoned on 5 mins 15secs per km). I didn't lose my head.
The first few kilometers were a bunfight: runners squeezed into a tight, steep, uphill column. My cycling skills came into their own as I managed to weave through the bunch and out into the open. The first lap remained a little congested in places. Sam's cheers at the four mile marker pushed me on.
I hit the five mile marker and my legs found their rhythm and I managed to break free. I felt that I was running well, even passing a few souls on the hill. The last mile hurt a little more than the nine others, but I finished in 1hour 22 mins 06 seconds. I am pleased to have made it home and grateful to everyone who has given me their support, encouragement and advice (note the trail shoes).
Thank you: Tadworth Athletics club, Dan and Gina for recovery cheese on toast and Sam for driving me home.