I had planned to visit Richmond Park to familiarise myself with the surrounding and help plan a cycle meet-up for one of the Vegetarian Cycling & Athletic Club’s 120th anniversary events scheduled for 21 September. It was also an opportunity to give support for Annette Herold in the Clapham Common 10K and encourage a mini gathering of any London members interested.
During our social at the London Marathon, Vanessa informed me that due to her health issues she was unlikely to enter any events again until 2009. It was disappointing to hear it at the time so, it came as a surprise to hear near the day of the Clapham Common event that Vanessa was going to enter.
The usual problems of Sunday morning travel on public transport meant a 2-hour plus journey to London Euston from Milton Keynes followed by the cycle journey as planned on the fold-up to Clapham Common. Arrived at Euston at 0850 so was uncertain if I would reach Clapham Common in time to see the start as I had to stop and check my route on occasions. Just made it to the centre of the Common with minutes to go and immediately found our Vegan Runners, Annette & Vanessa who had also brought along James Millington, a vegan who ran in the 2007 event.
It was a great opportunity as I was not running to take photos around the 3-lap course on the Common and can be seen in an earlier entry in the blog. At about 1K, Vanessa was ahead of Annette not that it was a race between them but with James not wearing a club vest I could not pick him out. Rather than use my bike I was walking between points on the course where I took photos. On the 2nd lap Annette was closing the gap and near the water station early in the 3rd lap, Annette was almost level with Vanessa. At about 8K on the long straight stretch, running into the wind on the northern edge, Annette & Vanessa were running together or ‘sandwiching’ another runner. Also picked up James (who considered joining after the 2007 meet-up) who was well ahead and going well. As runners passed the Start with a 400 metres loop to go, Annette was well ahead of Vanessa but could sense that Vanessa was increasing her pace. Vanessa drew level with Annette in the final straight and had the energy left for an impressive sprint to the line.
James ran a personal best of 51 minutes, Vanessa about 54.25 and Annette also ran a personal best of 54.35 despite the windy, warm and dusty conditions on the long straight on the northern side.
We all relaxed in the cafe adjacent to the race venue although there was little suitable here for vegans apart from the drinks and no soya so would not recommend it.
I cycled onto Richmond Park stopping regularly to check directions, passing a muslim charity walk. When I thought I had arrived, it was in fact Wimbledon Common and after climbing a hill. Eventually arrived in Richmond Park mid-afternoon and was amazed by its size despite seeing it on the map. Spent a couple of hours there including a complete loop cycling around the perimeter road of 6-7 miles. Decided to complete the day’s cycle training by riding back to Euston station which took at least another 1.5 hours regular stop/start journey. Was exhausted by the time I arrived home.
Hope to see some of the readers in Richmond Park on 21 September. We shall be meeting near the Bike Hire facility / cafe 1030-1100, a short distance south of Roehampton Gate inside the park. We will also be meeting back here 1-2pm for lunch after the first session of cycling around the park. For more details either e-mail me on veganrunners(AT)talktalk.net or 01908 503919, mobile 07967 589663. If you do not cycle you can always use the meet-up for running / walking.