Doing ones first Ultra is an incredible experience, so to review this experience as a race is simply impossible. To do that, would be an injustice and one needs to outline what the intentions of entering are from the outset. I have written and re written this blog post – some good, some really frustrating; but I think this would be wrong and inaccurate.
The Green Man is an Ultra that takes you around some incredible places in Bristol. But, if this is your first Ultra you need to hire or bring a course loaded GPS. This course is not marked and it will effect your experience if you do not have one. But that’s it, the rest is brilliant. In fact, the very fact we did not have Gps and navigated off the directions makes the memories special in their own right. And this is what the Green Man does, it keeps bringing you back to the “Ultra Experience”. And I loved it !
We entered this race as a warm up for MDS. The Green Man was put in the schedule to allow us to test our nutrition, pacing, backpacks and late race humour!
We arrived at the race early and registration was really relaxed and welcoming. First impressions – Ultra runners are a special breed and so welcoming to their sport. We had some great chats; the first a lad from Cardiff who did it last year “the race is pretty flat.” The second a gent from Bristol – ” The route is horrendous…..” Welcome to Ultra running ! But really, if there were any nerves before the race, they simply disappeared. Most are not here to chase a time – Its all about finishing and the journey. With the course as it is, speed is out the window. Expect everything, the green man will deliver! Hills, mud, scenery, laughs, woodland, golf courses, pubs, architecture and amazing people all doing what you are doing, urging you on and everyone talks to you!
As we started and ventured into the first set of hills – we queued at the first style – belly laughs everywhere as people were introducing themselves to each other, taking in the blue sky and hoping the runners in the distance on top of the hill were not in our race – knowing full well they were !!
I don’t want to talk about the race too much as it will spoil it for anyone that is yet to do it; like uncovering key plots in an excellent film. Trust me, The green man is an event that will keep you smiling and thinking for days after the race. For me that is the key to a great event, it leaves you wanting more, grateful that you had the chance to be part of something very special and that knowing feeling you are going to do another…..that will be completely different again!
The Green man is not bells and whistles. It’s heart and warmth. It touches you in a way you do not see coming and I simply want to go back, now, with a gps! Not for a time; but simply to run, take in the freedom of simply running, chatting to incredible people and maybe try and put my finger on what makes this race quite special.