Tuesday 28 November 2017

Kent Fitness League 2017/18: Oxleas Wood

The third race of the 2017-18 season was run at Oxleas Wood, which is the wooded area you can see to the side of Shooters Hill. This race marked my third outing at this venue over the last four seasons. The first two races of the season had been so-so...

The season opener at Knole Park was ruined by a pain in my stomach. Then at the second race in Swanley I got caught in congestion early on and found myself quite far adrift of where I would have liked to be.

I came into the Oxleas Wood race with more of an aggressive mindset - the previous year I had started too slowly and got caught in congestion during the early part of the wooded section. I wanted to avoid that this time around, and so did the race organisers - Plumstead Runners. So this year the beginning of the course was lengthened in order to thin the runners out before entering the woods.

oxleas wood (oxleas meadows) [photos: 7t]

The race start time was set for 11am, however a couple of minutes beforehand it was announced that there would be a 10 minute delay. The weather was pretty cold (it always is here) and there had been an early morning frost, so to keep warm I started a second warm-up session of light jogging until we had our two-minute warning.

As I mentioned, the course had changed a little this year. So the beginning was a little different and involved a large loop around a line of trees and bushes adding a couple of hundred extra metres to the course. I'm not entirely sure if it helped further down the field but I can confirm that I entered the woods and didn't have to deal with any congestion. My start had been more aggressive than before, but to be honest, I was never going to go too crazy early on.

My race featured a bit of overtaking and a bit of being overtaken. I struggled on some of the inclines but I fared better on the flatter sections. I rolled my left ankle but I appear to have gotten away without doing any damage. I wore my spikes for this race because I found them really beneficial the year before. However, the ground was much dryer this time around and I reckon trail shoes would've done the job nicely.

oxleas wood [photos: eden summers]

After 38 minutes and 14 seconds, I crossed the finish line, weaved through the funnel and collected my finishing disc, which I was surprised to see was number 80. Bear in mind that I had finished in 146th and 135th in the first two races, so to be well within the top 100 was a bit of a shock. Not only that, but I had run a new course best despite it actually being a few hundred metres longer. To be fair, the course was the driest I have ever seen it, so was a lot faster than it usually is.

Official Results Page: KFL Oxleas Wood Results 2017
Overall position: 80 / 460
Gender position: 78 / 324
Official time: 38.14

My GPS Data: KFL Oxleas Wood 2017
Video: Relive course flyby video

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