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Grafham Water - Hoohaah 10 Mile Trail Race

David and Tracy eagerly awaiting the start
David and Tracy at Hoohaah 10 Mile Trail

I was reminded on Friday night at the club Christmas meal that I was running a 10 miler on Sunday morning. I knew I was doing it, I just hadn’t realised it was now. Logged on after Parkrun on Saturday & booked my place on the start line for my longest run since the Great South in October.


Grafham Water, England's third largest reservoir can be found nestled in 1500 acres of beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside and has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for over 30 years. The western end features a 280 acre nature reserve and is home to ancient woodlands, reed beds and important populations of several bird and amphibian species.


Feeling a bit chilly when we arrived it was decision time – do I go long or short sleeves. I decided to go long on top & short on bottom, regretted going long on top after the first mile & had to do a mid-run layer removal without stopping, not easy on ice. With fog in the air, snow on the ground and ice on the roads we set off more like Arctic Explorers than Intrepid Runners.


We only had 3 rules for our race:


  1. Enjoy it – if it’s not fun it’s not worth doing.

  2. Don’t fall over – this was mostly for Tracy, and it would have been easy to fall over given the number of icy patches on the course.

  3. No stopping, no walking – gotta keep the legs moving, especially in the cold.

We stuck to the plan & achieved our targets, crossing the finish line together in a respectable 1 hour 41 minutes and collected our medals enthused that there were still runners finishing when we had changed out of our wet shoes & were hugging a hot drink in the café.


It was a well organised, friendly event with a bit chopped off at the beginning due to the underfoot conditions, but we compensated for that through our warm up & cool down. The walk from the car park to the registration centre was a slippery challenge, this was echoed at various points around the course where there were several icy and muddy puddles with a lot of Bambi impersonations going on.


David waving to the camera mid race
Smile for the camera David!

Ultimately, a great run location & only an hour from Daventry. Some challenging hills with the reward of spectacular views from the top and an opportunity to stretch the legs on the way down.


There are races here in the summer months and it looks an ideal place for a run around a very scenic area and a post-race picnic.


As soon as we left the car park the skies opened and the rain chucked down all the way home, glad we didn’t have that to contend with on the way round. Thanks to Tracy for volunteering me to run, to Andy for his support and getting us there & to Asia (Tracy & Andy’s gorgeous Doberman) who looked at us running in the cold like we were barking, not her.


Written by David Prentice
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