Lisa Vincent and Karen Doak at the Stody Estate Trail Run
Lisa Vincent

Stody Trail Run

Event : Stody Estate Trail Run

Formally the Hunny Bell Cross Country, the Cecil Amey Stody Estate Trail Run offers 3 distance options, 4km, 8km and 12km across the picturesque Stody Estate. The Stody Estate is not normally accessible to the public, so a great opportunity to add new miles to my Wanderer Earth profile.

Given I’ve been doing lots of longer, slow zone 2 runs of between 10km-15km, we signed up for the 12km route. Should be ok, eh?

The event was well organised with lots of space for parking. Although, I believe they might have had to make some last-minute changes to the usual arrangements and the route, due to the amount of rain we’ve had recently.

It was a stunningly beautiful morning and the first frost we’ve seen in weeks. The start was a five minute walk away from HQ, along a lovely woodland track. After lots of faffing about how many layers I’d need given the -1 temperature, we dumped the bags in the pig crates provided and gathered at the start. Lovely to bump into Karen Doak and Paul Fairchild for some Tri-Anglia team bonding (although Paul, you should really bin that WAC bib!!)

The Stody Estate Trail Run is a fun, charity run in aid of Break Charity. It was great to see serious club runners lined up alongside families and kids as young as 6 or 7 who had signed up for the 4km distance. Everyone joined in with a five minute warm up before the start.

The routes followed either one, two or three laps of 4km, through grazing pasture, pretty woodland and farm tracks. From leaving the start, a kilometer up the hill took us into the woods, dodging molehills and uneven grass. Given the number of runners, it was a very slow start – well, from where I was at the back anyway – practically dropping down to walking pace on the single track path through the woods. Once it opened out on the other side and dropped down the hill on the left of the field, there was more room for runners to space out. It was a bit slippy downhill, although not as muddy as we had expected, however a bit squelchy along the bottom of the  field.

We then turned right and headed up a long, slow farm track and more uphill back into the woods. There were lots of lovely marshals en route cheering everyone on. Emerging into the full sunshine from the woodland after the first 3km, I realised I had far too many clothes on. Down past the pigs on one side, and a quick hello to the ponies on the other, another short dip along a woodland path led us down a very short, steep slope and back into the starting field. At this point the 4km runners finished and everyone else peeled off for lap two.

Lap two posed more of a challenge. With more space to up my pace a little, I really noticed those hills! I would suggest they rename this event the Stody Estate ‘Hill Run’. I’m sure there was much more uphill than there was down (I know that’s not possible, but it certainly felt like it). I offloaded a pile of unwanted running tops and gloves as I passed through the start area for the second time, but even so, I was struggling to keep up with my planned pace. By the time I’d crossed the finish line after lap three, I have to say that I was just glad to have got round and glad it was all over. Being cheered in by my partner and Karen for the last 200m really helped get me over the line.

It was a much tougher run than I had expected, and I’ll definitely be working on my trail running (and hills) going forward, as I find it much more fun and more interesting than just pounding the tarmac. I had been aiming for a sub 1:12 finish, but ended up with 1:15:11 – those bloody hills!

Published on 29th February 2024

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