ERR 1 Hour Challenge Report by Marina Barlow-Oakes

During lockdown, I have not been running quickly and that has suited me fine!  I have been running because I am thankful to be able to get out there and it is my way of keeping mentally and physically well.

I have done all the challenges so far, but this one so far has been the most enjoyable and most poignant. It coincided with visiting my mum for the first time since lockdown, which was also the last weekend in my childhood home, as she was (and has now) due to move house the following week.  Still in the same village, but without the memories, or the strong presence of my dad (or at least, not in the same way). So, I decided to document my run through photographs, and to just enjoy it.  It was effectively my two 5k routes combined.  IT takes in the Thatchers Cider headquarters, where there was also a really lovely sight of a balloon.  That was photo opportunity one and two.  Then onto the Strawberry Line which is a former railway line, now a popular cycle path, dog walking track.  It goes from Yatton to Cheddar, in Somerset.   My dad is buried in the cemetery right next to the Strawberry Line, so I did a diversion to say hello to him and to chat to him about the house move.  He has been a key part in getting the right people into my beloved home.  Photo number three.  I know dad wouldn’t approve of the picture, but he’s an important feature on the route and I don’t see him often, especially now with lockdown.  I thought it was right to document him..sorry dad! Soon after, I bumped into mum, Rich and Millie, who were out for a walk along the Line, also on their way to see dad.  Poor dad, he was getting no peace from the family this morning!  I can hear his complaints!! Carrying on along the Strawberry Line, through the really long tunnel that I absolutely hate! Next photo stop. It’s probably 200m long, extremely dark (the lights in there are broken).  Any intention of running quickly through it, were aborted as it became immediately apparent that I had to watch my footing, to make sure I didn’t slip on any water that drips through the ceiling onto the tarmac ground. I made it through the tunnel in one piece and carried on to where the Strawberry Line meets the A38.  Here was my turning point to head towards home.  I had clearly erased the hill from my memory that I was presented with, and crawled up it, with a little bit of walking, but trying to look like a ‘proper runner’ in from of the runner who ran past me in the opposite direction who looked the part of a proper runner.   Once onto Winscombe Hill, it was another photo stop for the National Trust sign for Kings Wood, which is at the foot of Crooks Peak.  Many mandatory Sunday afternoon walks began from this point, with a treat of crumpets afterwards.  I then attempted to do a slightly different way home, but the track I took was really steep (down) and very rocky.  It didn’t feel safe or fun, so I retraced my steps back onto the Hill, which has some lovely views of the valley and Winscombe.  A quick stop for a picture, before the final short hill climb, swiftly followed by a lovely decent through the old part of the village, where I took my final picture of some cross road signs.  They had no significance, but I thought looked quite nice.  My hour finished on the main road home, right next to the childhood home of a good friend of mine (who I am still friends with) which felt apt.  I thought about running the rest, but frankly, I’d had enough by then, and enjoyed the walk home, again via a short section of the Strawberry Line. I don’t enjoy all my runs, but this one felt special.  It was a lovely day anyway and I was lucky to able to document both my parents, Rich and of course Millie