In these days of big city races with their ‘guaranteed PB’ courses, fancy medals and big entry fees it’s a real pleasure to do a grass roots event like the Swindon 10k, especially one that only requires a 5 minute walk from my front door to the start. There really is no excuse for not doing a race that close to home is there?
And it’s a great race, low key and honest. 500 odd people lining up at the start line on a country road in the middle of the Wiltshire countryside ready to race their hearts out be that for a 32 minute finish like the winner or a 60 + min finish for those towards the back of the field. It was a pretty chilly morning for the race but that of course didn’t stop the club runners sporting their vest as normal, I’m sure some of those guys only put an extra layer on when there is snow on the ground.
I love watching people at the start of the race, seeing what routines they go through as they try to deal with their nerves. Breaking into sprints up and down the road or jumping up and down on the spot to warm up, doing a couple of token stretches that are more likely to pull a muscle than stretch one or simply telling anyone that would listen that you’ve ‘basically done no training’. There were also lots of clubs having team photos taken, really nice to see so many local (and not so local) clubs represented.
The route is a 2 lap job with both laps going almost past my front door so the children were on cheering duty which was awesome. It’s also relatively flat, about 50m of elevation over the race, with a couple of gradual inclines and declines. Although I did have a brief conversation with someone on the 2nd lap who was complaining about it not being flat, I suggested it was ‘countryside flat’, the lady didn’t seem too impressed.
The organisation of the race is excellent, simple, no fuss and everything on time. No token goody bag at the end just a nice a medal and some free jelly babies at the end to help yourself too. Perfect!
I thoroughly enjoyed my race, once past the frantic first few hundred metres no one passed me and I felt strong and controlled the whole way. As I’ve been marathon training I haven’t done masses of speed work or faster running so didn’t quite know what to expect in terms of time but I hoped I could get sub 40 minutes for the first time. Somehow I managed to get my little legs to move quick enough to finish in 39 mins 31 seconds, almost 90 seconds quicker than last year, not bad at all.
It felt great do a shorter race for once and try to run fast and a big confidence boost that I managed to hit a consistent target pace for the whole race. It also made me realise that getting a few more of these kind of races into my training could be a good idea. The benefit of a bit more race experience and also a good intense tempo run, you can push yourself that much harder when you have people to race against.
Now I have a 10k under 40 mins I’d quite like to get a sub 20 min 5k recorded, should be easily achievable but I have yet to do a fast one. Following on from my last post I think I need to keep getting out of my comfort zone if I’m going to bring that marathon time down and running fast occasionally is definitely uncomfortable.