Ed: Chris Shoebridge reports from the Bedgebury 10K where he achieved a personal best despite being under the weather. Well done Chris 🙂
This trail race at Bedgebury would be only the second time I’ve raced 10k and I was looking forward to the faster speed of this distance. Training leading up to the event had been good and I was feeling sure I would beat my PB set in Sevenoaks two months earlier, and do the VRUK vest proud. Unfortunately, about a week before the event I was struck down with a bad cold and couldn’t run at all in the eight days leading up to the race! The day before the event I wasn’t even sure if I was going to run, but in the end resolved to drag myself around come what may, as I had so been looking forward to it.
I woke up on race day, had my lemsip, throat sweets and blew my nose and we set off to the venue. Following the month of rain we had in the UK I knew the course would be muddy so was pleased I had recently worn in some new trail shoes. At the start line I was in Wave 1 (sub-45) and positioned myself near the middle of the pack.
We set off and I eased into what felt like a comfortable pace up the first hill, overtaking a few other racers. At the top of the hill was a long downhill section and as soon as we started flying down (and flinging mud up!) I knew there was no way I was going to restrain myself. I was able to clock a couple of back-to-back sub-4:00 kilometres on the downhill and eventually crossed the halfway mark in around 21:40 – I knew I was on for a big PB if I could hold it steady. I was still overtaking people by this point, but it was around halfway that I started to cough and feel the energy wane in my legs – oh to have lemsip at the aid stations! I slowed a little and was overtaken by two runners towards the end of the race, but still managed to sprint up the final hill to finish in 45:08, 67th out of 992 runners, and a massive PB by 1:40.
Although I was disappointed not to have snuck under 45 minutes, I still came away with a new best in muddy conditions, with an illness, so I’m happy. And of course the VRUK vest got 45 mins of free advertising!