On Sunday morning I travelled up to Bordon, just north of Petersfield to make a return to Whistle Events and try out their Batty Bimble run which takes place in Hogmoor Enclosure. Hogmoor has been somewhere I’ve wanted to visit recently since they started a parkrun there about a year ago. This was my first chance. For those who don’t know, Whistle Events are a local (to me at least!) running company that host timed events. Most of those are 6 hours and you can finish 1 lap, or 12 laps – it doesn’t matter. Everyone gets a medal. Everyone gets to run. Really friendly, and well looked after events. I was also running in a few items of clothing from ReRun, so feeling good about using some upcycled clothing. Have you heard of ReRun Clothing? If not, do check it out. Without steering off the topic of the Batty Bimble too much, it’s a clothing movement set up to try and reduce waste in running. Running produces so much unnecessary clothing and often as a runner we have these bags and clothing thrust upon us with no choice. Get all these unwanted items of clothing back into circulation and go upcycled! Shoes, shirts, packs …. anything! Hopefully I won’t have to buy or collect another race shirt again. It’s becoming a bit of an obsession too as I’ve started also watching Marie Kondo – Tidying Up on Netflix. WTF is happening to me?
The weather on the week leading up to the race was amazing. In fact the two weeks leading up to the race were great I had even done a shirtless run – in February! I’d managed to fit in a decent ten miles the day before the race so the legs had a few miles in them but nothing damaging. I’m loving the back to back runs at the moment and they play a big part in my training for the hundred mile events. Weather was going to be grim for the race as storm Freya arrived with perfect timing. Not just us, but many events and runners were affected over the weekend. We were lucky that the organisers let us go ahead because they had been asked by the rangers of Hogmoor to consider cancelling due to the high winds. Great to know that the welfare of people is considered so highly in this great sport we all participate in. On the day my alarms went off and I was awake at 6:15am. Everything had been nicely laid out and after a nice hot bath I was dressed, fed and ready to rock and roll. I keep all my running gear in two crates and so I just packed the whole lot into my car. These are awesome as I get to store everything neatly and I know where to find anything running related in the house. Otherwise I find I’m digging through wardrobes and drawers looking for things all the time.
The drive up was atrocious and wet, however I was super impressed that as I passed by Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Butser Hill, that I saw what I think was a runner in orange gear going up the hill. ‘Ok’ I thought, if they can do that then I can go for a run in a park. I arrived within about half an hour and managed to find the rather odd car park, which lead you into some kind of active industrial looking type area. I knew I was in the correct place as soon as I saw the friendly yellow sign posts. I headed up to the registration desk and got my number and after a small chit chat I got back into the car to keep warm, and listen to some more cheesy 80’s tracks. I was just preparing myself for the task ahead. Relaxing and getting into the right head space. Then it was out of the car, vest and jacket on and up to the start for the briefing by Del. Then we were off. It’s really weird starting an event like this. One minute your all there thinking about it – even for for weeks leading up to it, and all of a sudden within one word you are actually in it and running it. It’s like some kind of strange switch that happens. Surreal.
The first lap was wet and wild and I had no idea which direction I was facing. The course seemed to be beautiful with tall trees all around us so I could not tell where I was going apart from following the path of the course. We turned at a play park and saw Del there in his dry robe taking photos. I settled into a nice group, with the lead runner George from Denmead Striders gaining a bit of ground on the first couple of laps. He was flying. After the first couple of laps though I think we all settled into some pace and ended up passing familiar groups at similar points. You start to judge paces of groups and it’s a nice way to pass the quiet time. I spoke with the overall winner that day (didn’t get his name!) for some of the time and we both confirmed we were in for the six hours. Even if they closed the event, I would have stayed on as an individual lone runners for the full time if the rangers allowed me to. Fortunately that wasn’t required as we were allowed to run the full time. The winds did not pick up more than they were already blowing. On lap three I got chatting to a runner Chris who was from Salisbury. Nice chap and good marathon runner. He told me all about his trail and road marathons. Isn’t it great on these events how you can talk running – to runners – and not feel guilty like when we’re at parties and bore people to tears. There were so many nice runners on route. I saw a lady Victoria who has the most awesome running style. I’d met her at the first ever Whistle Events run over in Wickham a few years back (write up here). I also bumped into non other than the inspiring and awesome ultra runner Susie Chan. She had reached her target for the day and was walking back down the trail. I had to be cheeky and get a quick photo – thanks Susie! Susie is an excellent ultra runner who most will have heard of. She used to hold the 12 hour record running on a treadmill if I remember correctly?
Who else was I to meet on route? Well, later on I got chatting to a runner called Mike. We spoke about – guess what? – running and it turned out Mike is the organiser of the National Running Show. I’ve been meaning to head up there for a couple of years but something has always cropped up. We spoke a bit about running and sustainability and I’d have LOVED to have carried that conversation on however time was pressing on and we were both hoping to get back for another final loop. I pressed ahead as Mike was needing just a few more hill walks at that point. That wasn’t before he kindly offered a couple of VIP tickets to come and see next years show! How kind. Have I said before – I love this sport so damn much. I managed to get back to the start just in time to be given to go ahead for one final lap. This would take my total to about 39 miles, which is near where I wanted. By this time there was one runner ahead who had done the same distance and he went through for the well deserved win. I managed a second place and was really happy with that result. A few runners finished running the full six hours so hats off to everyone who managed that, and also to those who came to conquer their own distances and targets. It’s never easy taking part in events in those conditions but as I’ve said before, there are so many lovely people to meet and stories to share with each other, that is makes the running that much easier.
Thank you organisers and volunteers. You were all amazing. These events are brilliant in many ways because it doesn’t matter if you are aiming for a social 5k , a new distance attempt or a speedy marathon or even your first ultra marathon. On the Whistle events ensure that every runner can do that in a friendly and safe environment. From 3 miles to 40 miles, it doesn’t matter what you aim to do and what targets you have. If you have a good day and want to go further, you can. When it’s time for you to finish you can ring the big brass bell and call it a day. It’s up to you …. and the weather of course! [Full Results] [Strava Trace]
**I also am grateful to have found my new favourite sweet – Tuck Shop Planks. Try these damn things they are amazing! Happy running everyone.