I hope that everyone had an amazing weekend. This blog is a day late because I was actually at work yesterday. Shocking behaviour after an incredibly hectic weekend.
Some of you know I set myself the challenge of
running completing 10 races this year. On Sunday I completed my fourth race –the Aldridge 10k.
So what did I think of the Aldridge 10k? Would I run it again? Would I recommend the race to other runners?
As always, I checked the weather forecast quite a few times. The forecast for Sunday was 23°c and sunny, typical. However, first thing on Sunday morning the weather was perfect; cool and dry with a refreshing breeze. The cool conditions unfortunately didn’t last. Ellen very kindly collected me at 09:30 and drove us the short distance to Aldridge. We found somewhere to park and walked the short distance to the race HQ, the local cricket club to collect our numbers.
I found race HQ a touch confusing. The signs weren’t very clear and it took us a couple of attempts to work out where we had to go to collect our numbers. Numbers finally collected and attached – there were a lot of safety pins – we decided to find out where the 10k race would start from. We found the 5k muster point, an impressive selection of trophies and the finish line. Virtually everything but the start of the 10k race.
The next challenge was finding somewhere for a pre-race pee. The queues for the portaloos were quite long so we checked out the cricket club’s Clubhouse. Bingo! Real toilets with a small queue. Toilet stop done and dusted, as it was still quite chilly we completed a pre-race warm-up. Ellen met up with some of her running club friends and organised some ‘before’ photos. We then squeezed in a second pre-race pee and then followed a sea of runners towards the mystery start location.
I’ve included one of the official race photos because I can just about make out my black cap in the distance.
[Photo: Brian Smith]
The sun made an unwelcome appearance just before the race started at 11:00. One minute it was nice and cool, the next minute it was hot and sunny. I regretted wearing black.
The first mile was hot and if I’m being honest rather uninspiring as it took us alone the main Walsall Road until we turned left at a pub and onto the amusingly named Bosty Lane. I’d describe the second mile as undulating and dull.
[Source: James Cruze]
This section of the course was made more challenging as we had to run on the pavements as the roads hadn’t been closed. I was a little frustrated because I enter road races to run on the road, not on uneven pavements with niggle inducing dropped kerbs.
Mile three was also undulating. I wanted to walk but just about managed to carry on running. The highlights of mile four were the hoses and the sponge and drinks stations.
As I still haven’t quite mastered the art of running and drinking at the same time, I walked through the drinks station. I was a little disappointed to be handed a small plastic cup with hardly any water in it. A bottle would have been welcome on such a warm day! We spotted a camera, waved and continued on our way.
[Source: Aldridge Now & Then]
[Source: Aldridge Now & Then]
The penultimate mile was quite tricky because my fragile right knee didn’t appreciate the rather steep hill section. The half a mile down hill away from the centre of Aldridge and the start of the race worried me because I knew it meant the final part of the race would be incredibly challenging.
I’m ashamed to report that I gave into the heat, my dodgy right knee and my lack of mental toughness and walked quite a large section of the final mile. I’m afraid that the inspirational quotes someone had chalked onto the road did very little to inspire this hot and grumpy runner.
[Photo: Ron Reynolds]
A few runners had warmed me about the “nightmare hill” between miles five and six. As a result I gave the hill far, far too much respect. Miles one to five had been completed at 09:xx min/mile pace; it took me over 11 minutes to complete mile six. The final part of the race was mentally tough as we had a couple of loops around a field.
I crossed the line in 01:01:45, collected my medal, goody bag and t-shirt -the Wolves colour was an added bonus – and found Ellen who’d finished before me.
We spent a bit of time recovering and then dug out our beer tokens and joined the queue for the free post-race half pint of beer. Beer successfully collected, we spent an enjoyable 15 minutes chilling out, discussing the race and drinking our beer. I couldn’t stay too long as I had to get ready for the journey back down to Wallingford.
Although my own race performance was a little disappointing, Ellen ran a seriously impressive time. I’m really enjoying watching her get faster and faster. The race was well organised and incredibly well supported. I received my official time via text the second I crossed the finish line and the first set of event photographs were available to download for free the same day as the race. It’s just a shame the photographer didn’t stay to take photos of everyone finishing…
This race report has turned into an essay so I’ll stop writing and leave you with a selection of Strava stats. I think it’s pretty obvious where I struggled.
If any more photos make an appearance online I’ll add them to this post.
So would I recommend the Aldridge 10k? Possibly, but I’d also recommend runners carry their own water with them if it’s a hot day. Advice I should follow myself.
- Cost: 9/10 – £13.75 (the entry fee included free downloads of official race photos)
- Course: 8/10
- Medal: 6/10
- Race t-shirt: 9/10
- Goody Bag: 8/10 (I loved the race number magnet thingys)
Do you ever wonder what happens to all the photos people take of runners during races? Loads of random people were taking photos on Sunday; they never seem to appear online. Strange!
Have you ever managed to dodge all the official race photographers? I’m starting to think that although I’m tall I’m also invisible.
Do you think 11:00 is too late to start a race? I much prefer an earlier start time as it’s cooler and the roads are less congested.