||Dunstable Road Runners hosted their fourth annual multi-terrain event, the Dunstable Downs Challenge – a no frills event that has a low entry fee, no prizes and no medal. Instead competitors are treated to a fantastic trail across the Dunstable Downs, a personalised certificate, hot showers, free tea, cake and rolls back at the clubhouse. It is, apparently, "not a race - but an event organised by runners for runners".
Based at the Dunstable Town Football Club, the course was mostly off-road and took in some wonderful open rolling countryside along with woodland paths together with some tracks and a few roads.
The running conditions were perfect with mostly firm ground throughout and cool conditions to start. The first few miles were shrouded in fog and mist which gave way to hazy sunshine as it broke through the fog.
It was a wonderful experience running along the leafy lanes with the rich sunbeams piercing the fog – so causing intermittent pools of brightness along the trail.
The well-marked course required few marshals, with typed directions being issued before the start. Three well-organised checkpoints/water stops were equally-spaced around the course.
The final three miles was the reverse of the outward trail – but this time the full (fog-free) views from the Dunstable Downs were visible. Crowds of kite-flying Dunstable residents, out enjoying the warm early-afternoon sunshine, were amused by the steady stream of weary-looking runners passing them on the top of the Downs.
A ten mile option was also available, but only twenty runners chose this.