1/12 – North Downs Way – Reigate to Boxhill and back

This was a big deal for Cally. First ever half marathon in freezing, muddy and hilly conditions.

We’ve had to adapt for COVID and the planned Guildford to Dorking is on hold. This was a natural replacement route as it is super local. It’s also one of my favourites and takes in a great stretch of the NDW ending up the the viewing site on Boxhill.

We set off around 8am, just at sunrise, but the hazy sky prevented any direct views of the sun and it made for very chilly conditions with the temperature hovering around 1°C. We had figured out a new Spotify feature and managed to listen to the same, shared playlist. I went for “Conquest of Paradise” the start theme for the 100 mile UTMB (the one around Mont Blanc) – go big or go home 🙂

The plan was always to go slow and just enjoy it. No time and no pressure and it was great to just be out together sharing the run. That’s also the great thing about trail running – you can just soak up the surroundings and walk when you feel like it.

Before we knew it we had hit the half-way mark and took a moment to enjoy the view and nosh a piece of flapjack and a fruit pastille before heading back. Cally was taking some strain in her left knee and her lower back was also twinging but she popped some paracetamol and soldiered on – good girl!!

The thing about an out-and-back is that you know what’s coming. Which meant we had to do all of the mud again. Its not a big deal and we have great trail shoes but it’s definitely energy sapping.

The second half seemed to whizz by and we were treated to a beautiful winter’s morning serenaded by the birds who seemed to be chatting optimistically about Spring.

There was a final sting in the tail as we had to get up Colley Hill before making the Reigate Hill ridge. On the way up I had Heather Small (M People) singing “What have you done today to make you feel proud?” – easy one for Cally (and me). She really did so well and just kept chuffing along, such a great achievement.

It really has been excellent to put something in the calendar and get it done. With all that’s going on it just feels like a slice of normal and the loose plan for the year ahead holds great promise to deliver some adventure regardless.