Sheila Gold, Ian Sayer, Rob Hick and myself represented Wessex at the London City Race on Saturday. It was a glorious day – as it often is for this race – and many competitors decided to sit outside in the grounds of the event centre.
The Start was actually in the grounds of the Barbican Centre so, straight away, competitors had to get their heads around the multi-level complex. Because I’ve competed here twice before, and know how confusing it is to work out which level you need, and how to get there, I was determined right from the start to take it steadily and study the map carefully before choosing my route. Controls 1 to 3 were actually quite straightforward, but my head kept telling me that they weren’t and that I’d find myself on the wrong level when I got to the control circle. The delight when I found the control flags on arrival lifted my confidence. But…. this was soon to disappear as I tried to work out how to get to control 4. This involved a complex area which had ramps and steps in close proximity and which made it very easy to lose one’s sense of direction. Even having used these ramps before, and even after the Final Details giving enlarged extracts of the map of this section, I still got myself into a bit of a mess and so lost a few minutes. The route to 5 involved returning through the ramp system – better second time around! – but it was still tricky to see the route which involved crossing above a main road to the south side, then to cross it at road level to the north side where the control was located.
I then breathed a sigh of relief when I realised that my course was then out onto the local streets where navigation was much more straightforward. I even had the delight of looking up and seeing St Paul’s Cathedral rising in front of me as I went for control 10 in its grounds.
There was a final bite in the tail as the penultimate control was back into the Barbican complex, and once again I made a bit of a mess of it, losing 3 or 4 places as a result.
But I finished up 16th out of 41, so was pleased with that. Sheila had a bit of a nightmare in the Barbican – it was her first experience of it, so understandable – but was pleased that she didn’t come last, as she initially feared! Rob had a great run coming 32nd/111 and Ian made the top half (his main aim) at 36th/82.
For those who have never been to the London City Race I really would recommend it as it’s an opportunity to run around some very historic places and, in some cases, running alongside and across the Thames.
Here’s a photo of the Barbican section of my course and 3 of us at the Start.
(Click on images to enlarge)