Last Sunday I thought it would be a good idea to run up Box Hill. Twice. When my alarm went off on Sunday morning I wondered whether this was a horrible mistake.
If you’re not familiar with Box Hill, it’s part of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that offers stunning views for miles across Dorking. I’ve cycled up it a few times and always been rewarded for my efforts. But I’ve never run up it. At least not the zig zag road bit that feels like it won’t end. Because, why would you do such a thing?
RunThrough debuted their Beat Box Hill 5k and 10k to offer a pretty unique opportunity to run up and down 2.5k long road that zig zags to the top and, if you’re in for the 10k, you get to do it twice! I know, what a treat! I love me a unique opportunity and obviously I wasn’t going to get out of bed and go all that way for the 5k…so twice up the hill it was.
The car park is at the bottom so the first task is to trek 1k to the start at the top, it’s steep, really steep, but the amuzing signs in typical RunThrough style made me chuckle. It was a sunny but crisp morning so it was worth a bit of hanging around at the start, there was even a choir belting out a bit of Don’t Stop Believing so I had a little dance (obvs).
The race starts at the top of Box Hill, which means the hard bit comes later. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. OK, I am sure. Angry, confused and hurt is how I felt. I mean, what the hell?!! They tried to organise people in order of speed but that didn’t work because I overtook a lot of people on the first descent and I certainly wasn’t running particularly fast. It was pretty annoying as it’s fairly narrow if you stick to the assigned half of the road but, as there was no one coming the other way I ignored the cones (soz).
Other people aside, the first 2.5k was fun! Although you know it wont last, there’s something liberating about starting a race, on fresh legs, with a solid downhill section. In other words…wwwweeeeeeeeeeee.
At the bottom, you run round a cone and start the 2.5k back up again. It was tough but I took my time and Box Hill isn’t actually that steep, it just goes on a bit and you know walking isn’t an option because once you start walking up a hill it’s game over…that and the voice in your head won’t let you…or is that just me…?
Photo Credit: RunThrough
I didn’t hate it, 2.5k isn’t that far and once you’re at the top you know you get to fly back down again. The second loop was much quieter because I think the majority of people opted for the 5k so I preferred the second time down. It was still really sunny and it was warm when there was no shade. The marshals were fab, they yelled encouragement and asked for smiles and banged their tambourines.
The second time back up the hill wasn’t as bad as I expected, I think the marathon fitness is finally kicking in and, although I was by no means fast, I was consistent and didn’t have any intention of giving in to the burning legs. Finally I was at the top and at the finish line. I think my face says it all…
Photo Credit: RunThrough
I loved the Box Hill 10k. I really did. I came so close to staying in bed that morning and I’m so glad I didn’t, it was a lovely run, tough, but lovely. Sunshine, green hills and running, what more could you want on a Sunday morning (apart from poached eggs and smashed avo but there’s always time for that after). Genuinely, the worst bit was climbing back down the steep grassy hill to the car park, I hated that bit!
Word of warning though, hills will give you aches in places you forgot about…like your core and your glutes…it hurt to walk for a couple of days. Doesn’t matter though, I’ve now beaten Box Hill both on wheels and on foot.