A band of 6 plucky RPAC runners set out from Bell Street Car Park on a chilly Sunday morning into the wilds of Surrey to take part in the Winterfold Forest MABAC event. When I say the wilds of Surrey, it really is wild; Winterfold Forest is in the middle of nowhere! We drove out through Shere and kept going - for miles. The road climbed steadily (I am reliably informed by some cycling friends that this is the longest climb in Surrey) and became increasingly narrow.
At last we spotted a sign that said "MABAC" and then began the hunt for somewhere to park. Half a mile up the road Malcolm spotted a pull-in and we managed to squeeze two cars into it before joining the throng of other runners walking back towards the start.
Ian Edmonds raised the excitement level by spotting a creature that couldn't be identified - was it a red squirrel or a stoat, or possibly even a polecat? Who knows? We were joined at the start by Mike Scott and Sonia Galloway who had come direct to the forest, bringing our intrepid band up to 8.
The race is a challenging (i.e. hilly) two lap course through the forest and comprises just over 5 miles. It started with a downhill that was over too quickly, followed by a short undulating section and a very long downhill mostly on tarmac. This afforded us a great opportunity to get our breathing back under control before starting the long uphill slog - and it really is long! Most of it is pretty gradual and on trails, but there is a short section of perhaps 50m that reduces most people to a walk. The first lap finishes with a bit more undulation and the second lap finishes by going back up the start slope.
First home for the RPAC men was Mike fresh from a trail marathon in Dorset, followed by Andrew "Paddy" Patrick, Michael Stanley, Andrew Bamford, Malcolm and Ian. The ladies team was smaller and comprised of just Sonia and Gillian O'Regan on her first outing in the MABAC League.
Despite the small turnout (we were the smallest club by some distance, DMVAC had 72 runners out) we weren't last and finished in a creditable 7th place.
The next MABAC fixture is at Farnham Park on 19th May. It would be really good if we could field a bigger team at that event.