Yesterday was Saturday and, as such, the day of the “Grim-Beast in the East” event. Having missed December’s postponed Grim event in January due to my foot I was looking forward to a social plod around Canada Heights motocross circuit with EatingTrees and Hauling my Carcass (see their links in my blogroll) and their friend Paul and, upon arrival at the venue, my anticipation was heightened while looking at the circuit and the marker tapes indicating that, indeed, we were to use the circuit proper.

A look at the organisational layout indicated a devil may care attitude to organisation which might be good and in the spirit of fun. Unfortunately it was merely disorganised. Far too few toilets, no promised changing area, a key drop that looked as secure as a wet paper bag (and upon finishing and going to get my key turned out to be true…I merely rifled through the box holding my race number group of numbers until I happened upon my keys. If I’d seen a Ferrari key, I might have helped myself!) but was the best I could hope for and trust another runner, as it were.

An absence of significant amouts of rain made the course as dry as everywhere else in the south east and the weather was spot on for a gentle amble around the countryside. Which, unfortunately, was what the event can be summarised as for me.

The social part was excellent and the event being labelled as a challenge was accurate enough but the challenge turned out to be not getting annoyed at everyone walking up the steeper ascents (right from the beginning of the first climb which was too narrow to navigate around them from the rear part of the field from where we started) before a bland lap of a featureless field inserted to increase the mileage. My frustration increased on the first lap proper of the motocross circuit, with most people around actually stopped at the top of the down slopes to have a look before trying to slow themselves up too much for the descent. Tom had a good technique for this, it should be said…simply letting himself go completely with apparent disregard for stopping before the corners at the bottom of the first few slopes was refreshing, amusing and a reminder of how we all used to do things as kids. It’s not hard but boy were people making a meal of it.

By 2.5 miles we became a bit disjointed as a group and I ran along at a comfortably slow pace to preserve my foot (which was a little uncomfortable at the start but freed up nicely as the outing wore on) and legs for the final lap of the circuit while not worrying if the others were with me or not. With few laughs or special challenges due to no streaming sand or huge puddles it felt much like a challenging cross country outing rather than a challenge proper.

A rather pathetic scrabble under a cargo net seemed a bit embarrassing for the event in the circumstances before another forced walk up a bit of singletrack behind a bunch of girls (who, incidentally, didn’t even have very pretty arses to assist the torment of not running in a running event) lead to another unispiring circuit of a field with views of motorways, the car park and some power lines before returning to the track for a lap before a loop to the finish. I found myslef urging on an antipodean chap in some silly headwear through this stage – he had surge in his legs (powering up the first bit of each climb) before his lungs had him peter out before the crests only to recover and repeat the performance. It was nice chatting but emphasised how little effort I could be arsed to put in to an event I clearly, by now, was a touch jaded with and wanted to be over. I just about put in a spirited finish but again it was a touch lacklustre and feeble in the spirit of my experience.

I guess frustration is the key to my sentiment. A challenge was the goal, not a race time or further injury or lonely outing around Ashford/Rye/wherever I happen to be for an outing. A challenge isn’t simply walking up slopes, easing down them and circuiting a field with other people. Maybe I expected too much or wanted something different but I don’t think so. Just to have made the best of what they had would have been great and I don’t think the organisers hit the mark.

I’ll feel daft when I read the other accounts of the outing, I’m sure, but my feelings towards the event are here. At 5.98 miles (even with skirting the track to make use of the berms to increase the fun/decrease the frustration) it was an odd distance using the area they had very oddly with an odd outcome in my feelings. The highlight of catching up with the others rescued the morning but that it should come to that is a shame.

Will I do another Grim event? On the back of this one then no. I think I’ll get more from a challenging/undulating/hilly traditional outing with decent organisation than a similar do to this but then maybe the frost/ice/wet of the winter version makes it worth the trek. We’ll see.

Still, on the plus side I remain uninjured (for now – I’m about to run to town to pick up JogBlog’s bike from the station so maybe I’ll knacker something then), 6 miles is again the furthest since Janathon in one outing and I have a new personal worst time for 6 (ish) miles to measure myself against as I get older and more incapable of maintaining bladder control. Be thankful for small glimmers of sunshine, eh?

1281.44 miles to go.

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