Three race reports from Andi Gaywood…
Greenwich Meridian 10K
This is one of my top 5 10K races due to its location and a couple of nice hills to contend with. This is a very friendly race and the field is mixed which suits my abilities to a tea. I would recommend this as a persons first 10K due to its friendliness and the fantastic scenery as you go through this old London park.
Having done this race before I roughly knew what to expect and started off at my usual plod making sure I did not set off to quick because of a couple of hills that I knew were ahead. It is a 2 lap course and although there are a couple of nice fast down hill parts there are a couple of small hills and a larger one you have to do twice which is a killer (well for me as some people seem to sprint up it). After I had got into the run I started to relax and increased my tempo a bit. The first time I got to the large hill I managed to jog up it ok and recovered well once at the top and continued round the course. However on the second approach which is the final stretch my legs were feeling the pinch and my breathing was laboured but managed to get to the top and finish in style (In my case that means standing). My final time was 58 M and 34 S which was about 2 minutes quicker than last year which is cool by me.
Brentwood Half Marathon
Over Christmas and the start of the new year I had been experiencing a few problems with both my knees and this was to be a big test at this distance to get my training back on track. This is the first time I have done this race which is right on my door step so it was good to get in with such a large field. I started a lot slower than in previous runs at this distance mainly due to be cautious and to get into my rhythm. About 2.5 miles into the race I felt ok and increased my pace to just outside comfort zone and started to enjoy the run. The halfway mark approached and I once again upped the tempo and got on with enjoying the run. Towards the end my legs were a little tired but it did not slow me down any. I finished with a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 19 seconds which is my second quickest time at this distance so am hapy with that result.
Knole Park 10K
Like the Greenwich 10K this ranks in my top 5 for this distance. The venue is a deer park and in beautiful surroundings. It had been raining for a few days so the grass parts (approx. 4.5 K overall) was quite muddy and slippery. The first couple of K is run in the valley of the park with a slight uphill climb to a large hill that is walked by 90% of the runners. So by the time I got to the hill and with the muddy valley my legs already started to feel the conditions. However at the top of the hill the race moves onto tarmac paths which was a relief. Once I got onto the paths I started to speed up and having done this before knew what to expect before the second lap.
I felt great on the upper part of the course and was chugging away taking in the great scenery. However on the second lap it was a down hill slope covered in mud back to the muddy valley again. Now my legs went back into “I don’t want to do this” mode. I plodded through the slippery mud incline and got to the base of the hill feeling out of breath. After climbing the hill again and back onto the path I recovered well and finished the last 3 k quite quickly for me. My finish time was 1 hour 11 seconds which was 3 minutes quicker than last year so well pleased.