I did the Langtoft 10k last year. This (non-chipped) local race attracts hundreds of runners from the neighbouring running clubs with it’s flat course and well organised event.
Last year I did the event in under an hour, however my official time is 60:01 as it wasn’t chipped and I only realised that it so close to the 60-minute marker as I turned the final corner some 30-40m from the end and even a last minute sprint couldn’t stop the clock ticking pass the hour mark.
This year I am not as fast, I haven’t been doing the speed over the 10k distance. I have been running faster for shorter intervals and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold on for an hour. I had set myself a target of 65 minutes.
The race numbers are collected on the day, safety pins are provided. It was a sunny and dry morning. It would cross the boundary onto the “too-hot” side later on.
I joined up with a couple of running buddies from my RunTogether group. One of which is very similar paced to me. We started off a little too quick, and by 3k marker I knew I was suffering and would have to walk. I wanted to try to get to 5k before walking but it was getting tougher and tougher (and hotter). I dropped off and walked at the water point.
In the 30 seconds I was walking I was encouraged by a few runners as they ran past. “You are doing great”, “it’s hot isn’t it?”. Just general phrases to distract you from where you are. I restarted running but had to resort to a walk a further 3 times in the next mile. My heart rate was about 185 and even the walking wasn’t getting it much lower. I was suffering.
It’s easy to look back and think there is only a little while to go, but when you are there it feels like the race will never end. During my walk break at 5k a really friendly voice behind me kept encouraging me. She was celebrating her 60th birthday as could be told with her pink birthday balloon she was wearing as a tail-feather. It gave me the encouragement I needed and managed to push on to 8k before having to walk again.
The marshals are great, offering encouragement and warning you of any oncoming cars. “Come on! water point on the next cross-roads, push on”. This added to the other competitors who were offering encouragement as I had to walk really helped.
In the end I finished in 62 minutes, had I finished in 65 minutes I suspect I would have enjoyed it more and maybe been able to run all the way round. I have my next 10k in a months time. I need to try and shave those 2 minutes off while at the same time increasing my bike and swimming distances.
The race-end is in a large field with lots of refreshments. I remembered the cakes from last time and I had some change for a celebratory run. I saw lots of friendly local races at the end. I can really see the attraction people have to local races. I am looking forward to doing this again next year.