This Saturday was the last in the Essex Cross Country 10k Series at Weald Park, with a total of 5 in the series I had signed up to all of these at the beginning of summer. My original idea was to run all of them with the hope of improving my time over the series, unfortunately this did not go to plan. With other commitments (holidays for example…😎) meaning I missed 3 out of the 5 events I only actually completed the first and last of the 10k’s. Myself and Zoe ran the first one together over at Hylands House which you can read about here, so it was really nice to be able to also run this last one together. I arrived in plenty of time and managed to park quite easily in the Visitors Centre cark park although it was all a little confusing with a parkrun nearby and a country show also taking place on the same day which meant Zoe ended up in a different car park to where we had arranged to meet. Registration was nice and easy, just gave them my name and I got handed my number and we were also able to leave our bags there which was handy.
Whilst we were waiting for the start I was trying to work out the route, having not been to this part of the park before I quite literally didn’t have a clue but I was worried there would be a lot of running across fields as that was all I could see. Luckily enough this was not the case and most of the running was through woodland trail with a slight increase in elevation. It didn’t feel like there were many downhill parts, until close to the end of the loop when the legs really appreciated it. It was a good job I enjoyed the lap as we had to do it 3 times to make up the 10k, I know this puts a lot of people off but I really didn’t mind it especially as we got to run through the woods. I can’t say I liked it when we were overtaken by the quicker runners which is the only thing when you are doing laps, however it was nice to know what was coming up and I felt comfortable and enjoyed the route and chat we had along the way. The marshals were great, ensuring we knew which way to go and shouting encouragement as we passed, there was a water station at the start / finish point which we passed on each lap and meant we didn’t have to carry our own water – always good. What I really loved about this route, aside from the woods mud and hills, was the wildlife. Whilst covering the 10k we got to see deer running across the field in front of us, horses being ridden through the park and many dogs being walked. This is quite a highlight for me, I would recommend visiting this park one weekend especially if you have a dog to walk or children who can play on the swings.
It was a shame I didn’t manage to complete more of this series, however the two events I have done have been organised very well and the medals and goody bags provided have been great. I hope to be able to do more of these next year and perhaps try out some of the other routes in the series, maybe even try and improve that 10k time as I go.