This year was my second Bolt Around the Holt race. The race is held at the Alice Holt forest and is an ‘off-road’ or cross country run, and is typically a fairly hilly run. Last year I enjoyed the 10K run so I was keen to feel the half marathon (21K) distance.
Initially when I was planning out my year in December some of you will remember I was in the grips of recuperating from some nasty medical procedures. I was far from certain I’d be able to run properly again much less do the half-marathon distance. Luckily I found using minimalist footwear I was able to keep running, as opposed to normal “heel striking” which left me limping after two steps.
So on Saturday 31st March I lined up to do 2 loops of the Alice Holt course with an extra 1K chunk in the beginning. Luckily the course was to be mud free. My ears were still ringing from my wife, Susan’s, warning to not get hurt since we are off on holiday the next Monday (that and feeling guilty for tearing the family away from their warm beds). Myself and another 200 of the 21K runners set off hard on the heels of the 5K and 10K runners, up and over the forest trails and firebreak roads.
For my part the first loop felt like an easy going training run, apart from a runner taking a tumble in front of me after tripping on a tree root (remember warning!). The second loop after the cheers of my wife and daughter to get my going was much more interesting. I started trying to improve my pace. Frustratingly I found that I overtook runners easily on the uphill and flat but downhills I lost the ground having to take the downhill much slower due to the lack of a heeled shoe and tired knees. Luckily most of the second half of the loop seems to be uphill so I was able to get ahead past my antagonists with a burst towards the end.
Total time 1h55 (winners time 1h22) and feeling very pleased all things considered equal. I’ll definitely do the Bolt next year again.