Sunday, 16 October 2011

Dave Lewis Challenge - 27 Miles Newark on Trent

If I have described other events as "low key" this must be the lowest key event of the all. Six people turned out to run the 27 mile route and a further ten or so decided to walk or run a shorter ten mile version. Both events are organsied by Rob Ellis assisted by other members of Newark Athletics Club. If you are thinking of running this event in future years It is to be recommended despite the low turn out. The event is a memorial race to commemorate the life of Dave Lewis who was a dedicated Newark athlete and coach. The event raises money for charities approved by Dave's widow Janet. This year's charity was a breast cancer awareness charity and by the time I had finished running, £350 had already been raised. The event isn't advertised extensively and there were other local races clashing with the weekend including the Round Rotherham, Spires and Steeples and a one of 10K along the newly built A46 bypass all of which would help to explain the low numbers of entrants in 2011. This is friendly event across a runnable, flat course with plenty of features along the way.
Organiser Rob Ellis looks for other entrants
At 8.30am Janet made a short address of thanks and then started us off from the Kelham Fox  pub outside Newark on a route to Upton, Southwell, Morton, Bleasby, along Boat Lane to the River Trent before heading Noth East along the river towards Fiskerton, Farndon and Staythorpe before heading back to Upton and finally back to Kelham. I ran all the way to Boat lane with the other five entrants. It was helpful for others to confirm the route. The previous year I had taken 7 hours to complete the event having navigational mishaps at most turns. In fact this year I was surprised at how much of the route I didn't remember from the year before probably because in 2010 I had done an unofficial 'lost' version of the event! I knew the route fairly well after Boat Lane and so I ran on. It was lucky that I kept a glancing eye on the route description as the route had changed because the organsier decided not to send us on the loop out towards the river. As a consequence I arrived at Farndon much quicker than previous years. My legs were tiring after 20 or so miles and the shortened route was a welcome and unexpected relief. I took a wrong turn through a farm yard and when I retreated I was encountered by the owner. The farmyard was mess, there derelict cars everywhere and a massive barking Alsatian dog which thankfully was chained. The scene resembled a backyard in the American outback and the grey haired pony tailed occupier that approached me added to the image. I made my excuses, apologised for my trespass and before he had time to draw his shotgun which I bet he had up his trouser leg I ran off.   I ran on to Upton and ate copious amounts of banana and poppy seed cake at the checkpoint. After Upton you run through a good sized orchard. there were loads of good apples on the floor, a wasted harvest I thought. I picked an apple off a tree on the way through. It tasted sweet and juicy, another unexpected treat to assist me on the final five or so, miles. The final checkpoint before home was 'manned' which again was unexpected as the route description described a self clip. I took advantage of the refreshments and set off for Kelham. The final few miles were as usual, hard. Just as I was about to have a leg relieving walk I spotted some walkers on the ten mile route in the distance. They had realised I was approaching and because I was at the front of the 27 mile field they took an interest and paused to welcome me through. I had to keep running, I couldn't lose face. I trotted by and we congratulated each other. I was glad to hit the main road and the short distance back to the Kelham Fox in a time of 4 hours 15 minutes to receive a certificate and a couple of quality street chocolates which were very welcome. Five minutes later a couple of other runners returned with the next two arriving as I left for a shower. I learned that the sixth entrant had got lost and decided to retire and walk back to Kelham. The Dave Lewis Challenge is a fine event. The route is runnable and full of features including, woods, an orchard, views of Southwell Minster Cathedral, the magnificent River Trent, Staythorpe Power Station, two crossings of horse gallops and a pub at the finish.           

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