After running the St. Peter’s Way I had decided that I wasn’t going to run for a week or so at all and I wasn’t going to race again until I was ready to tackle the March Virtual Run, this all changed the moment that my OH mentioned that I could join the Sidcup 10 mile race this morning.
I was still pretty bunged up when I rolled up this morning I was continuing to bring up phlegm off my chest I was cautious about whether I could do the race and more importantly I was concerned about the heat – yes readers, the heat! Regardless, I joined the main group at the starting line and moved swiftly to the back – this was not going to be a fast one.
We headed out at 10am and spun down the main road and I quickly realised that this probably wasn’t going to be the most exciting course as we passed through the local housing. There was a promise that the course was pretty flat but having been running around Sidcup for a number of years I was aware that actually there were a few tasty hills. The first section of the run out was flat and followed by a solid downhill but with a nice incline to the second main turning and then heading back along towards the start along another straight and a nice final bit back on a downhill and straight. Easy
I was hitting about 24.5 minutes per 5km which was in line with expectation and the first lap passed without incident. On the second lap I saw a young lady from the Orpington Roadrunners take a nasty fall that resulted in a ambulance being called, I saw her writhing about in agony (thankfully a couple of runners had already stopped to help her and so I continued onward). The second lap was equally uneventful (for me at least) and I moved up and down the mildly hilly course into the final lap, doing my usual laughing and joking with the volunteers (of which there were many).
As the final lap kicked in I could feel the heat catching up with me and I knew that I was due a bout of heatstroke but there was only 3 miles to go and so with a bit of a push I started to speed up. The idea was that I would come in at 1.15 but as I drifted along to the section where the Orpington Roadrunner had been taken out I also caught my foot and fell forward, pulling myself to safety but cutting my hand open and clearly pulling something in my groin. The runners around me asked if I was okay and I simply laughed it off but I started to slow down through the pain in my groin. A few minutes later I was caught by a chap called Richard who was running the Sidcup 10 as a warm up to the Brighton Marathon and he was pushing himself (not something I could admit to). What Richard provided was 3 miles of incentive, he needed a target and I needed a chaser – together we pushed on, I was shouting encouragement (or abuse depending on your perspective) and he was calling out that he was on my tail.
With less than 500 metres to go I put the afterburners on and sped home, overtaking the two or three runners infront of me to cross the line sometimes around 83minutes, nothing spectacular but it would do for today. I collected my medal and headed for the water station after having delightful man hugs with the lovely Richard.
I did make a few mistakes today, the first was that my normal double T-shirt technique was a problem – I was too hot from about half a mile in. I wore my Newton MV2 which are not suited to the 10 mile distance – 10km at best – I should have gone with the Adios! Worse though I seem to have given myself a mild case of plantar fasciitis for wearing the wrong shoes. I also failed to wear sunglasses or adequate sun protection for my neck and head – but it is early March and I really wasn’t expecting such immaculate running conditions. But regardless I did complete it and for that I’m very happy.
This was a curious race, the reviews said the course was a bit dull and they were right but the reviews also said that the organisation and marshals were excellent and that too was right, it is a fast course and if you are looking for something speedy this wouldn’t disappoint. The medal was okay considering that it only cost £10 to run but it wasn’t a classic (see photograph), the changing facilities and toilets were excellent as it was all held on a school and truth to tell I really can’t say anything bad about the race but nor can I say anything exceptional. Would I run it again? Maybe, but not for a few years I feel.