The Off-Road Series starts with a splash at Hardwick
Hardwick X-Stream 2017- X-streamly good fun
by Jo Sharples
I’d been aware of this event for the last couple of years, but thought it fell more into the laps of the “tough mudder” types, which I wouldn’t have categorised myself as. I also distinctly remember a photo of a very muddy Katie Haylock from last year’s event, and thought it all sounded a bit hardcore.
So what swayed me to enter? Two things really, the first being my frustration of only being able to compete in 3 cross countries this year, (2 Chiltern Leagues and the Southerns), due to work. And the second was Gareth and Adam’s persistent raving about the event. With the Southerns completed I could not bring myself to put my spikes away for the year, so I entered.
What is it? A one lap 6 mile off road course around the countryside behind the village of Hardwick, just outside Aylesbury. It is advertised as a slightly undulating course with varied terrain (and the occasional stream) – well that is putting it mildly. It also is one of the races included in our new trail race series.
On the day there was 6 LBACers- Rob Elmore, Adam Haylock, Warren Rose, Gareth Bird, Mark Haynes, and myself.
Positives of the race
- It extends the cross country season before a summer of road races
- You get to run through a stream (multiple times)
- Lovely scenic route (if you aren’t too tired to glance around)
- You have the opportunity to get really muddy
- It was a well organised and friendly event
- Cheap to enter, and got a finishers medal
- Slightly longer cross country for ladies compared to Chiltern League (this may be a –ve for some)
- The mud tan lines
- The last mile is downhill (pretty much)
Negatives of the race
- Finishing the race smelling of cow s***
- The never ending hill
- THAT bog
- Falling in the stream
- My car smelling of a stagnant stream
- Driving home in sodden shorts
Advice for anyone running for the first time
- The hill does not end at the stile; you’ll know what hill I’m referring to when you get to it.
- Keep your mouth closed when running through the streams, this is essential!
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Would I do it again? Absolutely, and hopefully next year we can get a larger LBAC team together. Rob has a title to defend, and there is a womens team trophy I think we could be in contention for.