Race Report: King Alfred’s Torment, UK, Sunday 22nd September 2013

This report was sent in by Phil MacQuaid and the report itself was written by Richard Talbot:

This 7 mile hill race immediately attracted me due to its location. Set just off the A303 on the Wiltshire/Dorset/Somerset borders the race runs through the grounds of the Stourhead estate on the outskirts of Mere.

The event is run by Yeovil Town running club and is advertised as 7 Irish miles of hills and mud. Now I am not the type of runner who gets misty eyed at the beauty of certain races but straight away upon entering the estate one immediately gets the feel of the remoteness of the event.

The car park is roughly 600 yards from the start. You actually walk down a steep hill towards it. Already the butterflies start as I know the finish is in the car park so this will end up being an uphill run.

To accentuate this feeling further the first 400m of the run appear to be downhill on a country lane. Then we turn into the heart of the race. Across a variety of surfaces including trail, field and pure mud the course appears to head upwards for the next 3 and a half miles to King Alfred’s tower.

Now this race appears to have different scales of hill. 1. Normal hill and painful…….2. So steep that running the hill is fruitless……..3. long half mile non stop hill, just to finish you off. The journey up to King Alfred’s tower was really tough but it was a good feeling reaching the water station at 3.9 miles knowing that the course could not throw anything worse at you.

The next 2 miles were simply amazing. I appeared to hit a second wind as we navigated our way down a stunning trail. I didn’t realise how far we had climbed on the first half as the down hill seemed to go on forever. It was glorious running freely on a beautiful mild autumn day in fantastic surroundings (I am not getting misty eyed).

All good things must come to an end and the last mile resorted back to normal as a couple more hills awaited for as we headed back into the car park and the finish line. A rock cake was presented to each finisher although  I must admit I was a little disappointed. We were promised a burnt cake yet mine was perfectly baked!!!!!

This is a gem of an event and once again I was surrounded by a variety of keen, motivated and friendly runners. At the end I was in my usual state of distress, in a sea of sweat trying to consume large volumes of water and pig down my cake. Choking and spluttering something next to my car made me laugh.

One of my fellow competitors Phil Monk of Dorset Doddlers who had run a respectable time of 57.24 was cheerfully consuming a bottle of cider. How could any man do this after such a hard run? My respect for this legend (well in my eyes) was intensified when he had informed me that the previous evening he had been to a wedding where he had consumed even more bottles of the apple rocket fuel.

In fact a large number of the Dorset Doddlers had congregated around Phil’s car and it was great to see the camaraderie that was so clearly in evidence amongst their club members. There were so many local clubs in evidence at the race with Frome, Chard, and Wells all being well represented.

Thank you to Phil MacQuaid and Yeovil Town Running Club for putting on such a great event. It was such a special day and once again the marshals and helpers worked admirably to make the race such a success.

Race Photos

Race Results

Click here to download the results of the 2013 King Alfred’s Torment race.

Race Listing

Click here for more information on the 2013 King Alfred’s Torment race.

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