Running up that hill… and the cow

I am fortunate to live on the doorstep of some amazing countryside and parks which offer great opportunities for running. In summer, our club runs from a small village that offers easy access to footpaths, bridle paths, woods and a country park.

Last night was a club night and an off-road route that included the second highest hill in our county. The first two miles or so were purely uphill… completely knackering and my legs were on fire when we paused part way to re-group. A glance at my watch showed that what felt like miles was actually two. Joy!

With the group reformed we set off for the last few hundred metres to reach the summit. The last few were so steep running was pointless. But we all made it and the downhill was exhilarating until the cow.

I say cow, it was a huge shaggy thing with massive horns. Think it was a Highland, but as my knowledge of cow breeds is limited and I rarely watch Countryfile these days, it could have been something entirely different. It was stood to one side of the path casually chewing on some grass. The runners in front of me barely acknowledged it, moved to the side and kept up the pace.

Me? I shouted something along the lines of: “there’s a bloody big cow on the path” (to warn everyone behind me of course), moved as far to the opposite side as possible (narrowly avoiding falling down the rather steep drop on that side) and slowed down keeping my eye on it as I ran past. I still kept glancing back until we were safely through the gate – which had a great big sign on the opposite side warning visitors of loose livestock.

I don’t like running in fields with cows. I don’t know why. I’ve never had a bad experience with cattle – they’ve followed me on a number of occasions and once an excitable field of bullocks ran across the field with me – but they’ve never come too close or tried to. Maybe it’s because I’m small and they are soooo big. Who knows, but I’ll keep trying to avoid them and, if I have to go through a field with them in, I’ll be keeping a vary wary eye on them and hope the speedwork pays off when they charge!

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