We were heading back to Waterford (you can read about my first time at Waterford here) and this time we had a target location and were not going for a recce. “Hi team – next Sunday we are heading to the quarry near Hertford – on a mission – gonna be a tough session, bring your A game 720 meet prompt for start at 730, finish and leave by 930ish” and in case we had missed that, the day before we got this follow up from Coach Tony Leary, “Just a reminder – off to Hertford Quarry tomorrow morning – I will be leaving St Albans (Sainsbury’s car park at 650 if anyone needs a lift) Ready to start at 730 prompt so we can get a good session in”
I joined Rebecca Cohen and Neil Rainbow for a lift with Tony, and when we arrived at the pond meeting point Ray Fletcher was already there, as always. We waited for a while for anyone else who might be joining us, thinking in particular of Robert Boarder and Coach Tony Campbell, but when nobody else showed up we got going. We followed the same initial route as last time, running past The Woodman pub before turning right up a lane which soon led us to a track. We followed that until we got to a gate into a field, where we took the opportunity to regroup, stretch off, and discovered that Neil had pulled his calf, which was probably going to bring him down to my speed ! We continued straight on until we reached another track and turned left, following that track until it reached an enclosed path which took us to the quarry entrance. We had not been there very long when Robert joined us !
We began with a general run around, checking out the area, having a look at what was available for us this morning, then started climbing up on to low walls, running along them, then jumping off before climbing back up.
Tony had spotted an area with some concrete blocks conveniently located by a track which went in a square around some trees, so we moved there to do some presses with the blocks of masonry, some push-ups, and some running laps.
Somehow Ray managed to injure his head doing this. We were falling like flies !
Neil was tasked with running the laps with one of the slabs while we ran over to the piles of gravel and sand, going over them from one end to the other, crisscrossing, going up and down, before going back to the slabs and running another lap over there, doing some more push-ups, then going back to the huge dunes of gravel again.
None of the slopes were gradual or easy, and it was just as hard coming down as it was going up !
We gathered together at the concrete slabs then ran over to a water container for a grip-strengthening session (or photo opportunity) before moving on to a massive wall.
They were both adorned with the most remarkable graffiti.
There was a plank against the wall and Tony, Ray and Rebecca used that to get to the top, really for no other reason than another photo opportunity.
Once they had come down we did some hill repetitions off to the edge of the quarry, before returning to the long chasm running along one corner of the quarry. This had long, steep slopes leading into it at both ends, and Tony, Ray and Robert found a long piece of pipe they were able to fill with stones, to give it some weight, which they then carried between them to run down from one end to the other and back again. Rebecca joined in for a second sweep and was practically dragged along at one point. We were in the middle of a quarry. We had left health and safety at the gate for an hour or so !
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and it became time for us to go. We moved away from the chasm and headed back, Neil and I taking a more direct route, round the top edge of the quarry to bring us back to the enclosed track, and going across a field from there to bring us back to the track which led back to the village and the pond. I had covered 6.8 kilometres, Ray had covered 9.1 kilometres, and everyone else had done something in between. It had been a fun session, full of a lot of testing exercises, and as with all of Tony’s sessions, very suitable for training for OCRs.