Arriving early in ideal conditions there was quite a crowd of mostly local runners signing on at the Cowpen Bewley Woodland Country Park. Its next to Seal Sands on the Tees Estuary which is flattish and where seals bask on the salt flats (if that's what seals do?)
Marshalls shepherded the procession of cars down the lane and it was busy but not overly so. The course wound its way around an undulating track through the woodland park before heading north along the side of some exposed fields and crossing Greatham Beck. The route turns south again taking runners along the side of a railway. While some of paths are gravelled the majority of the run took place on a yielding muddy surface where traction's at a premium. Definitely fell shoe territory.
After a minutes silence, we were off and I spent much of the early stages trying the cling to the edges of the track where the grass was thicker and conditions a bit drier and I was still around 6 or 7 seconds down on the runner in front halfway round.
At 4 miles, 2 tall lads came past both with a easy long gait. As you watch runners with a good style, you can't help thinking to yourself 'I should be running like that'. However, there was no temptation to track them and in any case I wasn't up for a hard day and for a change had no problems keeping the pace steady rather than going all out.
Arrived back just behind the 3 in front in 33:07 and around 15th. Well signposted and organised and with a T shirt, water and some choc at the end, a very 'canny' event.