Event: Hindleap Warren, Ashdown Forest

Regional Event, 22 February 2004 – I turned up and ran the open short course (M21S) on this rather attractive map – my first experience of the delights of Ashdown Forest in the South Downs. The warren itself is nearly inpenetrable as it’s very thickly vegetated (or “green” in O-speak.) However the surrounding sections consist of extremely pleasant, lightly forested woodland. The area is quite steep for Southern England, and I was expecting a slow time (225m of climb for the short course is much more than normal) but I got around pretty fast. A couple of legs were so attractive, that if the whole map had been like this, I wouldn’t hesitate to place this forest in my Top 10 UK areas of all time.

Hindleap Warren extractI had a near faultless run, just a little slow as usual. The extract shows on of my favourite legs – on running from 9 to 10, I crossed the good open ground on the left and ran straight down the wide ride running east, peeling off at the last possible moment. The terrain was suprisingly heathery – it could have been part of Scotland.

My result, for 7.1km/225m – 57:42 (8.1 mins/km.) I finished 2nd which was a nice result and my highest for a long time. (Full results here.) It really didn’t feel like 225m of climbing at all. My energy at the finish though was somewhat tempered though by the thought of the impending 4 mile walk back to the train station.

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