XRNG Pony Express

Race Date: Sunday, 14/10/2018
Race Distance: Other - Run

A two-day ultra in the New Forest. It is billed as 30 miles each day but was 30.5 miles on the Saturday and 28.5 on the Sunday. Saturday was a beautiful sunny but windy day, with quite a headwind if you were out of the trees and running in a south-westerly direction. The route was very clearly marked both days, so we didn’t need to use the route maps and cards that the organisers had provided. Plenty of wildlife on the route (New Forest ponies, cows, Highland cows, even a possible deer sighting) to fulfil Lisa’s expectations. We both enjoyed the autumnal show that the New Forest was putting on (stunning foliage colours, acorns, beech nuts and sweet chestnuts on the paths and even the occasional large fungus/mushroom). The first day ended at a school which was our accommodation for the night. It was basic with everyone camped out on two gym floors but had all you needed, including hot showers and a medic to deal with blisters. Unfortunately I didn’t get the best night’s sleep, partly due to hearing the rain hammering down overnight and worrying about what day two would bring. Needless to say it was a very soggy start. Despite wearing waterproofs I was soaked within a few miles of starting off. Combined with the drop in temperatures and the tired legs from the day before, it made the first handful of miles rather difficult to enjoy. We were very glad when the rain began to ease off a couple of hours in. The scenery was just as beautiful as the day before, just in a different way. A challenging run, but impeccably organised and I would definitely recommend to anyone wanting to try a two-day ultra. (Not sure how I ended up with a quicker time than Lisa given that we ran the whole way together!)