I’ve written twice previously about how awesome the Vigo 10 (Tough Love) Race is. It’s the crazy mix of trail and XC with the hardest, sharpest hill around and the best downhills for miles, a shed load of mud and so yes this is an awesome race.
This year Vigo Running Club (in conjunction with the Harvel Hash Harriers) dared to amend a near perfect route – the result? an even better albeit slightly slower running experience. I wince at the thought of the mud sat here writing this now but yesterday as I battled across Kent I was in love and once the clarity of memory subsides I’ll be in love again.
I’m not going to go into great depth about the race again there’s a few highlights talked about below and you can read my previous reviews here (2014 review) (2015 review) but be assured that if you loved it before then you’ll love it again. All the best bits have been kept and it’s amazingly gotten even better!
I can honestly say that never have a medal and a mars bar been more keenly earned.
- Pre-race 45 minutes on the toilet with epic bowel issues
- Arriving to catch up with Mr Hrabe, Emma and to meet Chelsea (and husband) in a ‘stood next you and notice each other’ kind of way, ace
- Wonderfully chilly conditions
- Wonderfully moist (soaking) underfoot
- The finest marshalling team
- Great route directions and amusing signage
- The best uphills
- The best downhills
- Great views
- A few minor adjustments to the route to make it even better
- The nastiest mile 9 climb ever (and I include Como Lupslido on Lanzarote when I’m comparing)
- Mud everywhere
- I didn’t lose my shoe as I did in 2015
- An outrageous and awesome (met him at my first ultra 4 years ago) runner on the PA system calling our names and numbers out, making me hurl myself at the finish!
- A medal I’ll treasure and a mars bar I delighted in eating
- Incredibly well organised
- Wonderful support from the rugby club and the many supporters stood in the cold, a real community affair
- A great value 10 mile run
- A post race 45 minutes with hideous bowel issues, thankfully my race was unaffected!
As you may be able to tell this is just one of those races that you a) need to do and b) love doing. I’ll be back again next year because this race gives me joy in my running and I might not have pulled my hamstring dancing like an idiot at a rave the day before when this race next comes round.
My only minor complaint was the lack of the cannon firing to set us off, however, I imagine health and safety might have come into play with this – but I like the cannon and know other runners do too. However, this is a minor gripe in a race made for runners.
Final mentions: my special thanks go out to Mick Hrabe for catching me at the final hill, that gave me the incentive to really push for a fast finish – you weren’t beating me two years in a row! And of course we should all be grateful to both of the running clubs involved – Vigo and Harvel, truly great work.