Date/Time: Saturday 20th September 2014
Location: West Wycombe Park
Distance: 26.2 miles (completed in a team of 6)
I love that my friends ask me out for food as much as they ask me to join race teams…
Held in the stunning West Wycombe park Helly Hansen’s Beauty and the Beast is tagged as the “UK’s toughest multi lap marathon” and when we arrived I could see why…
Then early on Saturday morning myself, Charlie and Leah made our roller coaster experience of a drive over to West Wycombe to attempt the race as a team of 6, with fellow lovely ladies Jen, Josie and Emma, each doing one lap of the course. When we got to the race area we were firstly distracted by the start and the small mountain that seemed to follow directly after it! Next came the second mountain which we had to drive up to get to the start – we spent a good few minutes stuck in the mud, like I said it was a roller coaster of a journey!
Parked up, hand break definitely on, we wandered over to the Helly Hansen tent as they had kindly provided us with the bibs and kit for the race. The tent was a life saver, huge comfy red bean bags, shelter from the cold, as it was a little chilly out, and ALL the food which appeared to just kept coming!!!! Picking up our race pack was far too easy and I was extremely grateful to be handed a cliff bar with my race number (this was to be the first of many cliff bars much to my excitement)! So back to the tent for a quick sample of all the cakes – muffins, flapjacks and some of the best tiffin I have ever had and then it was time to wave our first runner off!
Charlie set off amongst other relay teams, individuals doing half marathons (3 laps) and people doing the full 6 laps!
Whilst waiting I got into my awesome Helly Hansen leggings and laced up my trainers. Now usually I wouldn’t advise wearing brand new trainers for a race but it was wet and muddy and after last weeks falls I felt that trail shoes were a lot more sensible and I was only going for 4.5 miles!
We saw Charlie coming in so I stripped off my layers got the ankle tag and then headed off … up that hill!
Filled with motivational quotes the whole way you just knew you were in for a treat of a race.
But luckily what goes up must come down and straight away we did.
I think I had been running for 5 minutes and already I had spoken to various people en route. I am starting to learn that trail runners are just awesome, they are a very relaxed crowd who just enjoy running and getting muddy!
First hill done and it was into the woods! WOOHOO!
Ever since the Spitfire Scramble I have realised that I love running through the woods and this was great! Making more friends along the route and high fiving the fantastic Marshall’s I steadily made my way through woodland and parkland and fields.
And then it was time for the second of three mini mountains!
This one came out of no where and was crazy steep so a power walk it was. I was told that it was always better to walk up hills, conserve energy ready for the flat and the downhill. Mountain done, around a corner and down hill for a quick water stop then it was up up and up all over again but at least the top provided gorgeous views of the surrounding area and led onto more woodland path!
View from the top
I had heard rumours of a river and en route I bumped into a couple of runners I had met earlier in the day who confirmed this and then continued to explain that the only way to cross was straight through the middle ….
So, after a little pause, a photo and a pep talk I went for it! Ha! It was awesome and after a only a few squelchy strides my new Helly Hansen shoes were clean and dry! AMAZING!
Once away from the water we got to explore the gorgeous grounds of the Wycombe estate, past gardens and a lovely large pond, a little mini hill, which was far more tough than it should have been (I blame the fact that I had been nattering none stop with one of my new buddies) and it was round the corner to the finish line!
This route was fantastic, if it wasn’t for my knee after last weeks tumble I would have definitely gone for another round and have no doubt that I will be doing this next year.
Once finished I swapped over with Leah and proceeded the make use of the VIP space, eating yet more cake and of course getting involved in a little legs up a wall, no wait legs up a deck chair, action whilst catching up with the rest of my awesome team and eating more cake.
One by one the girls came in beaming from their laps and when we spotted Josie, our final runner on the course, coming round the corner we ran together to cross the finish line as a team!
Finishing in under 5 hours in total we were pretty pleased with ourselves as we had just set out to enjoy the course rather than focus on a time. Our medals were given to us on a podium which, in my mind, had one of the greatest tag lines above it …
I loved this race. I loved the route, I loved the various terrain, I loved the views and I loved the atmosphere!
Thank you Helly Hansen for a such a brilliant event, the cake was fantastic and I shall definitely be seeing you next year … for the half ;D!