It’s been some time since I’ve raced the trails but as this year’s Maverick innov-8 Original Sussex Race proved, they never fail to disappoint. There is something about running up the rolling hills of the Sussex countryside, looking across the valley and passing through fields of sheep (yes sheep) that makes you feel so alive, which could also be a theme for this race.
There is something about running up the rolling hills of the Sussex countryside, looking across the valley and passing through fields of sheep (yes sheep) that makes you feel so alive, which could also be a theme for this race.
Starting and finishing in the prettiest of English locations, Amberley, Sussex, we were taken on a tour of the South Downs North Park. And as for Storm Doris, well in your face. There was enough boggy mud to give you a workout but not wear you down. I went for it and chose the Long Race – an undulating route which covered 23km.
The first few kilometres took us away and up into the hills with a few climbs along the way. We then hit some trails and crossed over fields of crops. It all sounds rather idyllic but everything you can expect from a late winter/early spring race. More fields, forest and cracking views followed, not that you could take it all in. I remember zoning out a bit, trying to concentrate on my footing. The race was really well marked so you couldn’t go wrong and once the crowds had separated out, you found yourself too-ing and fro-ing with the same group of people for the final 10km.
Unfortunately, I’m a bit rubbish at taking photos while running so you’ll just have to imagine a ramble through hills and muddy fields.
When you final re-entered the Amberley Heritage Centre, you were handed a bottle of beer and a medal, which handily doubled as a bottle opener. What a nice touch.
As I said above, the route was well-marked in terms of direction but there were no mile or kilometre markers. Sometimes it’s good to have no idea how far you’ve gone but I wanted to have some idea so I could step up the pace or ease back.
Another niggle I had was the lack of water at the checkpoints. I could have carried some water with me as they suggested but I just wanted a sip.
Would I do another race from the Maverick innov-8 Race Series?
Definitely. It was a very well-organised race suitable for runners of all levels. Alongside the 22km race, there was also a Short 7km and Medium 13km challenge. The atmosphere was friendly and low-key, which is exactly how I like it.
The next race is in Dorset for anyone interested. To find out more about the series, go to www.maverick-race.com