Monday, February 29, 2016

Huddersfield 10k

Huddersfield 10k Start (Pic - Meg Jarvis)

I'm not sure if I could have picked a tougher track for my first ever 10k road race. The race began wil with a long and gentle uphill section and then a rather steeper hill which had me puffing and blowing early on in the race.

As we reached the bottom of that hill some helpful marshall said "Don't worry, only the two big hills to go.

He wasn't kidding. Fellow runners from the Pacers had told me to enjoy the views and enjoy my run, but to be honest I was head down ploughing away, just trying to keep some sort of running cadence going on the uphill sections, then swearing internally as the equally steep downhill slopes shook my knees to bits. I find downhill slopes much worse than uphill ones.

One really nice moment came via some good thinking at my running club. We seem to be the only club to have our names printed on our club shirts, so as I toiled up to the top of the first big hill people were calling encouragement to me by name. Spectators were sparse around the route, but it's amazing how even a smattering of applause can steel your determination to keep moving.

Still, it was a nice morning, cold, still and sunny in patches. The organisation was terrific, the only change I'd make would be to have more regular kilometre markers on the route so that first-timers could better judge where they were. £10 to enter a professionally organised run and you get a free t-shirt to boot.

Almost at the finish (Pic - Meg Jarvis)

The winner, Tristan Learoyd, who apparently flew round on a jetpack or stepped through a time portal, reached the finish line in a fleet footed 34.27. I thundered over the line, overheated, sweaty and knackered in 56.42.

I was placed 376 out of 572, and down at the lower end of my age category, I'm a 45+ Veteran apparently. Age grading result of 53%.

I was the only Airecentre Pacer to enter this race, so no OrangeArmy photoshoot at the end. Some of the club were running the rather more strenuous half marathon at Harewood House which is the venue for my next competitive run when they host a 10k in 2 weeks time. Let's hope for fewer hills and a better PB.

I think joining a running club has helped me to improve my level of fitness more rapidly than if I'd just been training on my own, and running in a group doesn't mean you get held back if you're of a faster pace. The club practice looping so the front runners to a checkpoint loop back to the rear of the group, faster runners get to do more distance and the rest of the group never get left behind, it's a nice system.

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