Devils Punchbowl 20

Exactly one month on from the Winter Tanners, this was another event organised by the excellent Long Distance Walking Association, plug plug! Introduced through Mark and Hugh, and now beloved of Danielle, Fabian, Amanda and myself……today there were 5 Joggers tackling the route, Amanda having prioritised Skiing over Running….tchah! 6am was still cold at 1c, and dark, and as we headed over to the start at Witley there was still talk of nervousness, despite all of us having so enjoyed the Tanners (see previous report, yes I know it was long!). As before, it’s an event (primarily walking) not a race, so you just turn up and go when you want…….in theory runners set off after 8.30 so that the 2 checkpoints are open when you arrive, but confident of our slow pace we set off at 7.55am, which meant we passed all the early risers and had to do our own navigation.

The weather was beautiful, the ground not muddy at all, and the conversation ranging, all 5 of us running together…..mostly. Hugh occasionally went his own way, muttering and clutching his crumpled map, while we listened to Fabs directions, straight from the organiser. We always met up again ‘around the corner’ and it only added to the fun, playing games of “where’s Hugh……oh there he is”!!

The 2 checkpoints were bathed in sunshine and groaning with food, and the volunteers simply brilliant and supportive as ever. One person lent Dani some cream to stop blisters (it was probably lipstick but it seemed to work) while I boggled at the industrial sized tin of Rice Pudding and couldnt leave until I’d had some (and a cheese and pickle sandwich with a cup of tea….how’s that for refuelling!!). Dani clearly had been putting a tiger in her tank as she got stronger in the last quarter whereas my legs got stiffer, but we all finished together (despite Hugh’s attempt to go his own way for the last mile) and collected our certificates while we relaxed with teas, coffees, beans on toast, more rice pudding and tinned fruit, biscuits, chocolates…..I could go on! This event is rare in that we probably put weight ON! No medals, just a signed certificate, but hey, we got ALL this for £4….yes, £4 each. We probably ate more than that in value. The bit that hurts is that there is a 30 mile distance offered too, and when the results come through they class the 20 mile course as the ‘short’ course! Couldn’t they just say ‘very long’ and ‘really long’???? It really is superb, and highly recommended to anyone and everyone… year, I’m in! Photos to follow