Earlier this week, with a long weekend coming up, Susie (Notarunnergirl) asked me if I wanted to run this weekend. Seeing the opportunity to go running with my wife, and to potentially choose the route, I jumped and said “YES!”
Where to run? As we live in the countryside there are so many possibilities for trail running on our doorstep. I ventured “North Downs Way” with Susie. Much to my delight she agreed and then I planned out a route for us to take.
We did a couple of photos before we started and then left for the run. It promised to be a warm day and so I decided to opt for shorts instead of tights.
I also decided to try out my new More Mie Cheviot 3. I have been a fan of their previous model and was keen to try them out before I used them in a race. (They were great. Better quality upper and the same grippy soles as ever – just as well since some of it was pretty muddy).
We agreed that I wouldn’t say how far we were running. So, with a plan of around 18 miles in mind, we headed off to park at Charing station, paid our parking and set off with backpack and drinks and some goodies for along the way.
We soon made our first nav error before we even got onto the North Downs Way. Only a few feet before we realised so that was ok. We were soon tearing up the trail, stopping regularly for drinks (it was surprisingly hot) and for photos and dried mango.
After around 5 miles, Susie had developed a bit of a blister issue. I had brought some rock tape with me, so I taped up her feet (big bleeding blister on her little toe – poor girl) and we carried on. We caught up with a couple of runners that we had seen earlier running the opposite direction (and who passed us while we were foot taping). We had a chit chat – the chap had done a 100k thames path run last year so he really interested in the 200 mile run along the coast that I have coming up.
Soon we reached the Dirty Habit pub. Unfortunately, we then headed down the Pilgrims way rather than climbing up on to the North Downs Way. So we were left admiring the view of the ridge route from below. Once we got to Detling we were able to join it again.
Anyone who knows the route, will recall the long upwards stretch of steps. They were not a welcome sight. Soon we had dealt with those and we were at one of the highest points. We managed to take a timed selfie while perching the phone on a post while I ran back into view.
We soon headed towards Boxley Hill, but Susie was hurting a bit all over… so I set about navigating a shorter route to Maidstone. Unfortunately, I misread the map as a trail route rather than a cliff edge, so we had to scramble down, and eventually made it to a good quality trail.
Only a few miles left into Maidstone and we stopped for a selfie. And then on to the end – for a well earned drink and a burger. Then a train back to Charing. Susie simply says “bury me now”. I say she did great.
Stats: 18.2 miles and 1,663 feet of ascent.
In 7 days time I will be running 200+ miles from Hythe to Bournemouth along the coast. I am running with friends, Michael, Marek, Paul and Keith – all Maidstone Harriers. We are raising money for Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). http://www.justgiving.com/hythetoIOW