The summer of fun continues….
Having learnt my lesson I booked a few races just to make sure I would not slack off again. This one the Heathfield 10k was exactly the sort of race I had been looking for. It was the right length, and it was in the league that my club runs in so it was a bit of a no brainer really. I had no idea what to expect except for the brief description which called the first half undulating, and the second half uphill. Right then, no PB’s here.
I am trying to keep my mileage up to 30 miles a week at the moment so one of the reasons I got there early was to get a warm up mile and a half in. The field where we parked had a section taped off where we were obviously going to be finishing so I ran down this section and out onto the roads. Yes there was a hill, thankfully at this point I was just jogging gently down it through a semi suburban street. Plenty of trees and bushes, almost like woodland with large houses laid back from the road. I was not the only one warming up along here and I nodded at a couple of other runners I passed. After this little warm up I went looking for club mates.
I bumped into a few friends and we had a good chat, talking about races and how we were feeling about things, the usual kind of pre race banter. Before you know it we were round to the start of the race and off we went. Once again I think I did quite well with placing myself in the crowd although I ended up having to do more overtaking this week. The start was crowded so it was tricky at times but not so bad that I was slowed too much. The first mile was pretty much all down hill, the one I had warmed up on, and the hill that was waiting at the end of the 10k. It was pretty straight forward and well marshalled and during the second mile there was a fairly steep climb which put the start very much in the class of undulating courses.
I was very grateful that there were many marshals around the course as the route took us through a maze of country lanes. This didn’t have the great huge vistas that last Polesdon Lacy had but it felt cozy the whole way. We were running through rural English villages at their best. There was only one occasion that let it down where an impatient driver tried to get through a gap just as a group of runners arrived. This happens from time to time and considering that this was an open road race things went exceptionally well.
I spent most of the race chasing people down and moving gradually through the field and for the last 5k I could see a girl ahead wearing a parkrun 50 T-shirt. As we went down the hills we pretty much kept pace but on the uphill sections I would edge closer. As we came into the last 2k I gradually made my way up to her and then past, ready for the last Km pulling slowly away. I was not sure how much I had left as we came into the field at the end and started round the final 300m or so. I was not looking back but I could feel something happening so I tried to pick up my pace a bit and then I was on the final straight. I could hear footsteps behind and my mind went ping and my legs turned into steam engines.
This was now a race to the finish. Out of the corner of my eye I could just see the Parkrun girl and as I crossed the line, I had managed to stay maybe 6 inches in front. It felt good and we congratulated each other on a last burst of effort.
Then there was medals, goody bags, banter and bananas. I may well be back again because even though it was hilly, it was road and it was friendly and I ran it in 47:19 according to my Garmin. Another fun morning of racing and another tick on the big chart of getting shit done.