The FOD Half was a race I had done many years ago and can honestly say I wasn’t keen to revisit. The race surface, although off road, is almost entirely on packed stone which is very hard on the legs and feet. My daughter however had entered this year and an exchange was struck. I would help her with her ultra marathon prep by accompanying her on the final 8 miles of her 26 mile training run on Saturday, then she would give me and my bike a lift back from the FOD Half the following day. A poor exchange perhaps but it was another useful training exercise for the 113 in June.
The cycle ride to Speech House provided an interesting and chance meeting with another TTG member, namely John Collins. He cycled past me somewhere near Westbury-on-Severn when I spied his TTG tri suit. We exchanged a few words before he sped off, a new TTG friendship made, and the value of wearing club colours well demonstrated. Then, soon after arrival at the venue, who should appear but Katie K under her very obvious TTG woolly hat.
The race was very well organised, with around 1000 entries and parking appeared easy despite the recent heavy rain. Toilets were present in abundance and Gloucester Sports had a pop up shop for last minute purchases. Starting on the road and on time, we were soon guided down a lovely descent for what seemed like a mile or two. Undulations followed, all on tracks which narrowed initially then opened up. The finish was slightly uphill but on a nice soft grass surface with people to cheer you home. Although not a PB course, it wouldn’t compare with Dursley Dozen or Doynton Hard Half as tough off road races go.
Overall, a good HM race to take on as training for the 113 70.3, and it’s within cycling distance too. Being old enough to be one of only 8 in the MV65+ category, getting a lucky 3rd place (and a huge bronze medal) has clearly changed my view of the race. Perhaps give it a go yourself next year!