Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The New Forest Running Festival, 9th March 2013

OK, so I know I owe two posts not about fitness, but I just want to tell you about the 10K Mark (running buddy) and I ran on the 9th March.

It was at Linwood in the New Forest, at the Red Shoot campsite; I know the New Forest reasonably well but this area is particularly beautiful. I ran the women's-only 5K last year (and won - which surprised everyone!) and enjoyed the atmosphere, set-up, and area so much I've decided I'm going to take part in this event every year I can.

The Sunday before the event, Mark and I had a particularly tiresome run; we managed 18 minutes before needing a walk. We both said we weren't ready to run a 10K (6 miles) but as it's such a lovely area and a well-organised event, it would be a nice break for both of us, and with no expectations, my father kindly took us down there on Saturday 9th.

The race started at 10.30, so we set ourselves up at the back and prepared for a casual, but challenging, run. We managed a successful 42 minutes before I needed a quick walk break, but we only gave ourselves 2 minutes before setting off again. The course itself was undulating, mostly on tracks, but there were no inclines longer than half a kilometre (according to the website). It wasn't particularly warm that day, which I prefer if I'm running longer than 3 miles, but we were soon sweating it out with another couple, who we incidentally paired up with because our paces were very similar. I've read numerous times that you should aim to follow a runner in front of you to keep a good pace, so it was helpful to know how we were doing because we seemed to be either slightly behind or slightly in front of this couple.

The final half mile was a killer; we had to run past the finish line, up a hill and back around. I needed another quick walk because of a stitch, no more than 30 seconds, but we still came in at 59 minutes 25 seconds!

We were both really, really 'chuffed' with this time; it was the first 10K either of us had ever run, and given our lack of training beforehand, we were really happy with this time.

I love this event for several reasons, aside from the fact I’ve done well the two times I've participated; it's really well-organised with a lovely, friendly atmosphere. There were dogs everywhere, as people could run with them, and I thoroughly enjoyed fussing a 9 1/2 week old black lab puppy (I took photos - dog nerd). My housemate even asked how I had time to run if I was busy petting everyone’s dogs.

I love dogs. So much. Mark’s partner has 9.

We were given a commemorative t-shirt, Clif bar, details of upcoming events, and a wooden medal for participating, and there were a couple of stalls where one could purchase running-related products. I did buy some Reflex energy drinks, which I’ll review in good time (after my final year project for University). My father also surprised me with a ‘Keep Calm and Go For a Run’ t-shirt and a ‘I <3 Running’ t-shirt. Thanks Daddy!

I would definitely recommend this event; there are several races suitable for every level, taking place over two days, including a women’s only 5K and half marathon, open 10K and half marathon, and ultra marathon. The organisers are really accessible over email if you have any queries and the atmosphere is perfect if you suffer badly from pre-race nerves. There’s a debriefing before each race and the Red Shoot pub is divine, so perfect bribery for spectators J

The event organisers are Naked Strength and the event is The New Forest Running Festival:


  1. Well done to you and Mark - great achievement.. I think you need to do the half marathon next year and Eli and I will come and support you (from the pub!) xxx