When I returned from Ironman Austria, I plunged head first into the organisation for the Surrey Badger Half-Marathon. The event went really well, even the weather was kind (although we did get wet…again!)
In the middle of all of that, I found time to run the Reigate Priory Summer 10k, just days on our return to the UK.
Here is the race report…
The Reigate Priory summer 10k has been going about its business quietly for the last few years. This race has built its heritage on being a well organised event, on a genuinely undulating route around the country lanes to the south of the town.
It is unusual in that it is an evening event and something to look forward to as a way to unwind after work. I’ve attended this event with various improvers groups over the years. This time, there was an opportunity to fly solo and run it ‘in anger’ as it were. So, I closed the shop half an hour early and drove down to Reigate to secure my number and a pre race cup of tea before lining up at 7.30pm.
The week before I had completed Ironman Austria so in truth had no idea at all what would happen once the gun went off. It was important to at least style it out over the first 300 yards in the park (well spectators were present!) and then hope I was still upright once we’d hit Reigate high street.
Well, at first my legs laughed at me for even thinking this was a good idea. Happily, Steve Murphy (Reigate Priory runner and managing director of Thurlowe Clarke who sponsor the event) was stood there shouting encouragement. Steve ran, yes RAN from John O’Groats to Lands End last year for charity. He averaged 50 miles a day. And this year is planning to row the atlantic single crewed. That’s 3000 miles in 3 months single handedly. Follow his progress and support his fabulous charity here.
When you’re being cheered by someone of that calibre, you can’t really moan about a 10k. So I told my legs to shut up and get on with it and happily they did. Once we were out of the park and off the grass, they felt a lot better.
I had no expectations about this race other than to finish. It was nice to have no pressure attached to it other than to enjoy the run. I felt like I was clip clopping along quite nicely and was surprised when the garmin clocked 9.50 for the first mile (it felt faster). It wasn’t until later I remembered I’d started my watch on the gun time, not the chip time.
I was struck by the amount of people around me. I’ve spent so many years at the back of the pack that being surrounded by people was a real novelty. The route is bias towards downhill on the first half of the run. With a nice ‘treat’ at the 7k mark it’s essential to pace the event properly. That said, after about 4k, the prospect of a sub 60 was on and I was up for it. All I had to do was keep my head.
At the end of Flanchford Road we turned left. Here the route heads uphill gradually. Pulling in my pace I allowed people to overtake and settled into a nice rhythm. It was warm but nowhere near as hot as it had been in previous years. The perfect running evening and I was enjoying myself immensely.
Steady did it until we reached the 7k mark and the dreaded hill. Actually, the climb had started much further back and so the steep point itself was much shorter than I remembered it. A little push and I was at the top and able to push the pace again on the descent back towards the park.
A wonderful kilometre of downhill and a glorious right turn back into priory park. Consistent splits (including a 10.15 UP the hill woohoo!) and now the sub 60 was a real possibility. I just had to hold my head. My legs were screaming at this point. The last kilometre is a lap around the park including a final climb up through the woods behind the lake. I knew what was coming and just hoped I could hang on.
I ran past photographer Ant from Sussex Sport Photography (who I know well). He shouted a comment about how much weight I had lost which made me giggle and then I headed into the trees for the final push.
Crossing the line in 59.22 (chip time 58.54) I felt elated and nauseous. Interesting bedfellows. I was handed a cup of tea and turned to cheer fellow clubmates Lisa and Liz (and the lovely Bryony from the Children’s Trust) who were just behind me.
And then happy with a decent run, we made our way home for tea.