Leamington Spa: Sunday 17 April
Up far earlier than is healthy for a Sunday morning I sat at the breakfast table forcing down a large bowl of porridge in order to ‘carb up’ ready for my first race as instructed. A few butterflies wafted around the old tummy tumpkin as a sense of trepidation grew. Then it was down the M40 to the genteel town of Leamington Spa where stucco frontages and pleasant parks made for a beautiful start to the race.
As always the beginning of the race meant we were bunched together but what does that matter when you have a lovely broad tarmac road to weave along? Unfortunately this was not to last as we soon veered off the road and onto a cinder track. Whilst the track wound its way around fields and a golf course it gradually deteriorated into a narrow, muddy, puddle-riddled mini ironman challenge.
The great heaving mass of humanity surged forward and was forcibly funnelled between hawthorn bushes, not very forgiving if you get snagged. Meanwhile the quagmire beneath our feet quickly resembled a brown soup that splattered us all liberally. The larger puddles, like small ponds, resulted in some runners coming to a startled stop which soon became a log jam. “Don’t stop just keep going!” exclaimed an agitated man to my right, “run through it!” shouted a woman next to him. Determined not to be the focus of any comments regarding my hesitancy when approaching the next puddle I leapt over it like a gazelle (kind of), I wasn’t quite ready to wade run through.
Thankfully the field of runners had begun to spread out a little by now and the path climbed steadily and dried out. Eventually we turned back in the direction of the town centre and headed down hill.
Back on the road the crowds were lining the streets clapping and cheering, good to hear when you are starting to tire. By now my main aim was to maintain my pace although there was the occasional bit of overtaking. I ran past the long limbed youth who ran not unlike a startled giraffe. Past the chap in his late fifties whose response to his faltering stamina in the final kilometre was to noisily expel every breath like a human steam train.
Finally and to my relief I turned off the road onto some mercifully soft grass toward the finish line. I had wanted to run the 10K in 50 minutes and, seeing the clock at 49:45, I managed to quicken my pace a little and get over the line to make a sub-50 minute time, just!
Then it was off for breakfast, tea and medals, hurray! Swifts ahoy!
Congratulations to all the Birmingham Swifts who took part in the Regency 10k.
Here are the chip times of all Swift entries: