||A perfect day for The Compton Downland Challenge, a multi-terrain race over either twenty or forty miles based at The Downs School in Compton.
An interesting and scenic route over the rolling Berkshire Downs, making use of tracks, trails, footpaths and a few roads between the villages of this part of North Berkshire, with a few steep (i.e. only walkable) hills thrown in for good measure. One particularly good viewpoint was from the hills above Streatley looking down over the sweep of the Thames past Goring.
Weather conditions were good during the race; overcast and still throughout with a cool start warming slightly later on. Underfoot, conditions were firm underneath with slight softness on top caused by the recent rain.
Hot showers at the finish were very welcome as was the refuelling meal (of sausage, chips and beans followed by rice pudding) in the school canteen.
There were excellent performances in the twenty mile event from Gerry Smith to be fifth overall & second MV50, and Frances Burge to be second lady overall.
Ninety-one lost souls opted to run the second (different) twenty mile loop to make the full forty mile course, but only Mark Richards from HRR opted for the extra loop. He had an excellent run to be third overall and first MV40. He had earlier shown his intentions by driving to the race from Oxford rather than cycling as in previous years.