The last time I did this race, it was 2015 and the weather was absolutely gorgeous! I had sold it to my running pals as a beautiful, bluebell full, woodland trail type of an event.

Well, there were bluebells!

We headed up to North Devon, Jackie, James, Trish, Sarah Hill and me. Somewhere on the A39 were Becky, Stef and Rob. The weather couldn’t have been any more different this year, the 5th running of this race. It is organised by North Devon Road Runners and is a fun filled event. Registration and race start are in the stunning surroundings of Hartland Abbey. It’s always lovely to catch up with friends from all over at this race. The Heartbreaker is 18 ish miles long, the 9mile Heartache, its smaller sibling. During the briefing, it is explained that if you get to half way and can’t continue, “if you want to go crying to mummy, if you want to take the walk of shame” you can finish there but don’t take a medal until all the genuine 9 milers are back! I don’t know if anyone did!

The race itself is a mixture of woodland trail, fields, country lanes, coastpath. It’s brutal! There is no other word for this one. The downhills kill your quads, the uphills kill everything! There was SO much mud this year! What should have been a lovely, runable woodland section had you hanging onto trees for dear life to stop yourself sliding into an abyss! The coastpath was hilly and wet and windy. There were steps! There were muddy banks, there were 2 ropes that made a hill climb almost possible! Oh, there were bluebells! Bluebells that even put Lanhydrock into the shade! The route is dotted with signs, “Heartbreak”, “Heartache”, “The Wall”, “The Edge” to name a few. There were water stations but there were alcohol stations! Vodka, Prosecco and Sangria! Sarah had something at all of them! We did partake in a Prosecco toast.

It’s lovely, it really is. It’s worth the trip, if only once, as it’s a great, quirky, slightly bonkers event. 5 runners were taking part having run every 18 miler since it’s inception and were given various fancy dress costumes by the race director and instructed to start and finish wearing them. 

The star of our group was, unsurprisingly, James Brydon. This is yet another race designed with our James in mind! He really is going from strength to strength and the trails are his natural territory (in my humble opinion)! 

 Next home were Becky and Stef who are proof that training is a really good idea! They flew round and it was lovely to see them and James waiting for us at the finish.

I ran with Jackie, Pat and Sarah (Newquay RR) and as always am eternally grateful for Jackie and Pats support! They really do drag me round but we do love doing these sort of events together.

We ran much of the race with Rob. Hats off to him for taking this on when he has been dogged by injury. Reluctantly, we left him with a few miles to go but chatting to him afterwards, he was pleased to regain strength at the end and run the last bit strongly.The results are not out yet but roughly:

James, 2hrs 50ish. 8th PLACE!!

 Becky & Stef, 3hrs 50ish

Jane, Jackie, Pat & Sarah, 4hrs 15ish.

Rob. Shortly after us! Sorry Rob, I’ll post times when they are out!

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