I descended the hill toward Wanborough with the 1:40 pacers, secure in the knowledge that I had blown my projected race time but thinking I was approaching Liddington, a half mile further along so, in fact, I had blown my time much worse than I reckoned. As we made the hard left turn away from the village I realised (or thought wrongly that I realised) the route map would not pass the Village Inn as planned and I veered off to some spectators on the side of the road and asked, rather too loudly, “Is there a pub nearby.” They laughed and looked away and I was forced to be more emphatic, “no, really, I’m serious…is there a pub in the village.” Still dumbfounded, one of the ladies came to grips with the situation and pointed mutely off into the village and I thanked them and turned back against the flow of runners, past some concerned looking race marshalls and out of the route and onto the road to what turned out to be the New Calley Arms. Ahh, bliss.
Not a mile further down the road, after returning from the NCA, the Village Inn appeared and I made my original planned stop. This was a good venue for watching the folks formerly behind me pass by while struggling up the hill and when I rejoined them, refreshed, one said he wanted a pint. “£2.80 for the Wiltshire Gold. If you’d have been faster I would have got the drinks in,” and then I left him behind.
The race was pleasant and I would do it again, not least because I didn’t have to do anything extreme to get to the start on time (as at Cricklade, Oxford, and Chippenham recently) but also because the hilly route was pretty thus making up for the climbs. It is also small enough that you don’t really trip over a lot of other runners and the support is phenomenal. Oh, my time was 1:48:59 including the extra 3/4 mile and the two pints; this concludes my efforts to do 4 half marathons in a month’s time…29 days from 1st to 4th.