We were helping at the SOC event at New Copse Inclosure today and it was raining when we arrived, rained nearly the whole time we were there and was still raining when we left. Indeed, it was raining so much that whilst we were there the road out from Brockenhurst was closed due to flooding.
Always a glutton for punishment, I decided to run the Black, one of the Long-O courses and a mere 21km. Unlike previous years where there has been some fast running to be had on the plains, the course was entirely in the Inclosure and Peter Robson had done a good job of keeping the course as technical as the New Forest will allow. There were some good long legs although the track route on the 2.5km 6-7 leg was too easy and obvious. The rain meant that anything smaller than a gravel track was a risky bet with all of the rides becoming linear mud baths. Fortunately there were plenty of runnable sections of forest.
My only real mistake was on control 20 where I lost two minutes by crossing one two few paths. (This appears as 19 in the results.) The sad thing is I think I made exactly the same mistake last time I had that feature as a control. Both my brain and legs were starting to fade at this point and jumping the stream en-route to 24 was a real effort (as was climbing up the hill to the control). My final time was just under 2 hours 20, about 20 minutes slower than I’d hoped (not taking into account the weather) and some 13 minutes behind the winner Peter Forester.
Finally, a big thanks to all the SOC members who braved the torrential rain to help at the event. All I can say is that I’m glad the Hursley Photo Club outing to Beaulieu that was due to take place in the afternoon had already been postponed!