Seven Sins Immortal
A few months ago I was looking for an end of year race. I’d previously done Gloucester 10 miles and a New Years Day 10K. I had heard Jamie Osborne talk about this race, so I thought I’d give it a go. Not one to take the ‘shorter’ option, I decided to jump straight into the Immortal. For those of you who don’t know anything about the Seven Sins, it is a trail race which takes in 7 hills over 7 miles in the Forest of Dean. The Immortal does the Seven Sins route in reverse and then the route itself, so double. There are also two streams that you have to wade through (reminded me why I never want to run an obstacle race!) The races are also run over consecutive days, so there’s a few opportunities to do this.
We arrived at Wenchford Picnic Site just after 8am and met up with Stuart Sharland and Emma Wright. Parking was already getting tight at this time, just with the Immortal runners. We got our race numbers, and our race chips which we had to strap to our legs. The race started at 9am (we saw Liz Usedon at the start), we were briefed on the conditions which were very muddy as it had been nicely churned up the day before by the Seven Sins runners. We were also warned about the streams – there are two streams to navigate and we had to do those twice!
A short distance after the start was the first stream. On the Seven Sins run, this is the last thing you do, but on the Immortal we get the first two streams done within the first couple of miles. There was a bit of a log jam at the stream as we carefully entered the water. You have to wade about 30 metres and go through a tunnel (same on the second stream). Once out of the stream the running begins properly.
We had the first few hills and both streams out of the way within three miles. At this point both my feet fell asleep, I think it must have been the cold, so I just kept running and wiggling them about to bring them back to life. After about half a mile they started to work again…. None of the hills are particularly huge, I think the biggest ascent is a couple of hundred feet, but it’s the intensity of doing so many in a short distance and the terrain was sooooooooo muddy.
Going down the final hill of the first leg, we had Seven Sins runners coming up the hill and a number of Immortal runners as well. Lots of great words of encouragement from everyone (that’s what I love about these events).
There was a cut-off of 1h30. I didn’t make the cut-off and when I got to the turnaround I had polite words with the marshal to acknowledge I was after the cut-off but I would be completing the Immortal.
So, I turned around and started chasing after the Seven Sins runners. At this point, my muscles had finally warmed up and I was actually feeling really good. I saw Emma and Stuart coming in on their leg. The first couple of hills on this return leg were quite steep, but I knew the ones after would be relatively ‘easier’ and the water crossings would now be at the end of the run.
I caught up with a number of Seven Sins runners, then I managed to catch up with some of the Kingsway Immortal runners. I ran with these guys for awhile but then left them. In the distance, (almost all the way around), I had been catching glimpses of Liz Usedon. I wasn’t good enough to catch her up, that woman sure can climb those hills!!
I definitely enjoyed those final few miles and they seemed to go quickly. Surprisingly I did do the second lap quicker than the first. The stream crossings were both fine (at the final one the photographer made me pose for a few photos….) I even managed a little sprint to the end, delighted to see Liz and Steve (my better half) waiting to cheer me in.
But oh my goodness…that was a tough one!