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