Trail running, Yay :)

Sunday 27 January 2013 – North Downs

I have not done a heck of a lot in the past week; had a few coffees and the occasional wine with friends, went on a couple of walks around town, applied for a job or two and took virtually no photos. Nothing I wanted to blog about anyway.

I did take some photos of some street art and have really started to be intrigued by the work of Sheffield artist Phlegm, his work is amazing and always fresh.

This one is part of a larger piece that I could not photograph as there was a van in front of it. In Shephered Bush.

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And one off old Old St in the city.

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I was expecting to be moving out of Kensington this week as my friends arrived home from Sri Lanka late evening on Thursday. However they are going to hang out in London Bridge for a few days so as of writing this post I am still here in Kensington and am unsure of when I will actually move, not that I am in any sort of rush.

I am also no closer to finding a job so decision time on what is next is looming closer and closer. The amount of cash I allocated to this job hunting period is dwindling now so I either throw more money at it or I head home and hope I can find something there more easily. Decisions, decisions – but not quite yet anyway.

Just before Christmas I joined a London running club as they did the occasional social trail run. I started off with the club with good intentions and ran with them a couple of times a week but in the past two weeks I have gotten very slack and not been out at all. It has had nothing to do with the snow on the ground either! Just laziness and a lack of motivation.

Today was the first social trail outing and we were off to run a very small section of the North Downs from Guildford – forty minutes away by train.

It had rained for most of the night, at times quite heavily and there was a strong cold wind blowing as I walked up to catch the tube to the meeting place at Waterloo Station, so I was not expecting how the day turned out and was wrapped accordingly. There was a pretty good turn out; with nineteen of us running. I was a wee bit nervous as I arrived, wondering if there was going to be a group of elite ultra-runners and me. As it turned out some of the others were also thinking the same thing and in the end there was a good mix of experienced and novice trail runners that boarded the 9:30 to Guildford. The clouds all cleared as we rode the train and we arrived in Guildford with blue skies overhead, perfect conditions for running. Cool and clear – with mud on the ground!

We ran (some walked the first hill !) from the station and there was only a kilometre or so of road before we hit the start of the downs.

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The first section was along the side of the some rolling farm land, there was a bit of water on the ground from all the rain with a nice bit of mud on the track – I have missed running in the mud 🙂

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We ran up St Martha’s Hill to the church at the top with its great views out over the downs. The tracks are quite well sign posted but I would not run here without a map, the downs are huge…

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I also took the obligatory selfie on the cellphone, I meant to take some photos of the trees behind me as well, but forgot – too carried away with getting my own mug on the camera. The day was really bright so most of the photos were quite overexposed, the poor old Galaxy couldn’t cope with it all.

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We ran back down the hill to the river and split into two groups, one doing a seven mile loop and the other doing ten. I decided to do the longer as I was feeling good and the pace wasn’t killing me, plus I wanted to maximise my time on the trail : ) We took off up another hill which was quite slippery in patches and I was so glad for the trail shoes, remarkably I did not slip over once on the trails, though a few people did. I actually really enjoyed this climb, it wasn’t long or technical, a nice gradient till the end when it got too steep, but nice and muddy and greasy, plus I did it at my own pace rather than someone else’s.

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From the top of the hill it was pretty much road all the way to town and The White House pub for a pint, I am sure they loved us dirty runners.

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It was a good day, I met some really good people and some very serious ultra distance runners, they weren’t serious, but their running was ! I cannot wait for the next one.

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Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.

2 thoughts on “Trail running, Yay :)”

  1. Beautiful, Phil. Nice to see not much has changed – I often ran that route on my own: perfect. Glad you are out enjoying it!! There is much undiscovered Greater London as you know.

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