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Sunday, 22 January 2012

First Test Run Along the Greensand Way - Hambledon to Gibbet Hill Viewpoint

Banjo Day

Claire and I cant find a word to rhyme with Saturday. We have hashtags for our twitter posts like #sundayrunday and #hashhouseharriers but weve never come up with anything better than #saturdayshithead day (mainly because any run following a friday night out tends to be 'impaired').

When we went online to look for words that rhyme with Saturday we got Banjo as a potential word........

So this Saturdayshithead day we ran our first test run along a new stretch of the greensand way. Dave had a run the next day in Portsmouth for 16 miles and so wisely stayed out of this one. The excellent Surrey County Council website shows this run as map 2 of the greensand way and measures a distance of just over 7 miles from Hambledon to Gibbet Hill Viewpoint in Hindhead overlooking the Devils Punchbowl.

Hambledon to Gibbet Hill

We started from the car park by Hambledon Church and began running out towards Sandhills.Both Claire and I carried rucksacks with 5kgs in to simulate the kit we expect to be carrying on the actual run. We were armed with a bottle of water and a pack of jelly babies too,

Its always all smiles at the start of a long run

We ran well following the route using a map saved on my phone as well as watching a moving map image of our route on the android My Tracks app. Most of the time the footpaths are marked well with greensand way markers. We got slightly slowed down/lost around the Sandhills area, caused mainly by us coming off the tracks and having to follow road for a while but mainly the route is fairly easy to follow with plenty of signs on the way. We flew through Witley and Brook in no time heading towards the A3.

crossing under the A3 near Thursley

The new Hindhead Tunnel has caused the A3 to change drastically before the tunnel. The actual greensand way route now has a slight detour at the Thursley area to get under the A3 but it does present a chance for an unusual photo for an off road run.

the well signed route

After the A3 the route the Greensand Way turns southwards towards Hindhead and we ran through varying terrain and through a few farms on towards the Devils Punchbowl.

The run up towards Gibbet Hill is a bit of a slog. The combination of wind and overcast weather, large falling branches and low glycogen left us feeling a bit low as we climbed towards the summit. It took much longer than we expected to run up this stage.As we ran up we could see the old A3 leading up to the old hindhead traffic lights being 'decommissioned' with all its tarmac removed. It was odd to see a road I have driven many times being returned to nature.

our halfway mark

Getting to the summit after 7 miles of running rewarded us with a well earned 25 minute break and fantastic views towards London. We donned some extra clothes to stop the wind, finished the jelly babies had a sit down and got a bit of 'planking' done.


The Return Journey - Gibbet Hill to Hambledon

The journey back required less effort with navigating as we had run the route already. It gave us a chance to reflect on what we had learnt from todays run, thinking about what we had learnt also helped take our minds off how tired we were running back.

My rucksack is small and does not have a waistband. It rubbed too much against my back and the combination of the X Bionic top (which keeps you damp on purpose) meant I ended up with a chaffed back. I have now swapped the rucksack for a different one with a waistband and more comfortable straps.

I also ran out of water and jelly babies. With no food or water on the return journey the run was much harder on the way back. Carrying a few kilos of lead in my rucksack instead of water and food is total madness and a mistake I wont make again.

We agreed that a good selection of tops, hats and gloves helps, as over runs that last many hours you can be caught in varying types of weather and temperatures.

Finally its important with the style of running we will be doing on the actual full run that we take the opportunity at any chance we get going through villages and hamlets to pick up drink and food. We were VERY lucky to have the lovely people at Bongo give us a can of tango and a free Club chocolate bar at Witley Station on the way back.

Claire has an Orangegasm
Next weekend ( SaturdayShitheadDay) we are running a longer run as a three. We will do the same route as this run and continue on to Haslemere where we will have lunch and then run back. Itll be the longest run we have done yet and the first time all three of us have actually run together.

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