At the end of January, I took to the New Forest trails for the Adidas TERREX Maverick Original New Forest race. As you can always expect from Maverick events the organisation was seamless. From friendly faces in the car park, quick registration, free demo kit, no-nonsense race briefing, an encouraging no ‘argy-bargy’ start line, a well-marked route, motivating marshals, amazingly stocked outposts, finishers goodies you’ll actually use and delicious venue caterers. The whole event oozed happiness and genuine gratitude for finally being allowed back together to race without the red tape of the 2021 season. It really was the perfect way to come back to racing after the global pandemic restrictions and having had a tiny human a few months ago.
The middle route was just over 11km so I decided to give that a bash. With the majority of New Forest trails being flat and fast fire tracks I knew it would make for speedy racing so chose the TERREX Speed Ultra 210’s. They were also a perfect choice considering it was dry underfoot and time on my feet would be under an hour.
The route was awesome. Fast and relatively flat as expected. Nothing technical which meant that you really could attack it. The only things to slow you down were the livestock gates, which luckily as I was running with my ever suffering husband meant he was tasked with being ‘gate opening manager’, a role he fulfilled dutifully if not slightly begrudgingly…
The finish chute and line were both back to their former BC (before COVID) glory with spectators and cheerleaders being allowed back into the venue. It’s surprising how much a few cowbells can really spur you on in the final 500m sprint to the line.
Racing. It was a lot of fun and it’s definitely something I’ve missed in the past couple of years during the pandemic, pregnancy and now postpartum. Standing on that start line with the sole intention of wanting to run the fastest you possibly can is pure escapism. It’s not saving lives, combating climate change or even going to pay my mortgage, so the result really does not matter and that’s why it’s so much fun. It’s the sheer joy of doing something for the process, the complete contentment in the ‘doing’ and being consumed by something for an hour or so where the outcome has zero further bearing on your day/life. A chance to forget about everything else and just run fast. I can’t recommend it enough.
There are a lot of awesome things about Maverick Race events but one of the best has to be that very few people talk about km splits or where you ranked. There is a distinct lack of ego and, instead, a genuine care for the enjoyment of being outside on the trails regardless of pace or place.
It felt so good to be back at a Maverick Race and it certainly blew a few cobwebs away. It really felt like an event from BC and hopefully, with the mini-me in tow, I’ll be able to get to a few more this year.