Dukeries 40

Perfect weather greeted Grantham Running Club’s long distance expert Caroline Davis who took on the Dukeries 40 on the bank holiday weekend.  Starting at Walesby, the 40.8 mile run is also a canicross event so Caroline and her trusty Whippet lined up at the start 5 minutes prior to the main body of competitors who were running either 30 or 40 miles. . 

It’s the second time Caroline has taken on the 40 mile, but with a double set of marathons and just a couple of weeks rest it was hard work from early doors.  Anyone that has run the Worksop Half Marathon might think that this would be an undulating course – thankfully it was relatively flat with just a couple of hills. 

The course takes runners through Sherwood Forest and the additional 10 mile loop for the 40 milers takes them past the Major Oak. The next stage went through Norton (where canine sidekick Pepper was dropped off for a rest), onto the Welbeck Estate to Creswell Crags. It’s at this point where the terrain becomes a bit hillier with a significant descent on tired legs after running for 23 miles. 

The next stage is to run over to Limetree Avenue in Clumber Park. This route was shared with a horse event so marking was more often on the ground due to the tape upsetting the horses. It worked with everyone being respectful of the space. 

Grinding out the last 13 miles through Clumber Park and back to Walesby was hard. Caroline was rejoined by Pepper to complete the last 7 miles although she wasn’t impressed by the stream that was now covering the pathway, but the pair got through it and then it was a case of running through farmland, hitting the edge of Walesby and running a rectangle back to the finish line.

Caroline’s finish time was 8 hours 1 minute and 6 seconds. This was 40 minutes slower than 2 years ago, but worthwhile preparation for the upcoming Robin Hood 100 (mile) which includes 2 laps of the Dukeries 40. 

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