Report from Peter Simpson:
This was our third meet-up at the Rainforest events in Finsbury Park, North London, this time moved forward two months and the course also changed which we did not know until the day. Both Chris Dhondee & myself have now run all three. Despite the warmer weather, the turnout was lower possibly due to the clash with other events in London. It made it easier for us to meet close to the start. Jon Homan lives locally and ran the 2009 event without seeing us! Jon’s two children ran in the kiddies 1K event wearing their Rainforest t-shirts prior to the main event.
Once again VRUK appeared to be the main registered club present in the 10K and was noted by the organisers. Lining up at the start, few runners appeared to want to stand near the start line. The new course started on the grass for about 200 metres and effectively starting with the leaders, the pressure was on to justify my position. A few did overtake me otherwise I did hold my early position in roughly the top 20 despite breathing heavily. As we turned onto the back part of the course and downhill, the course was conspicuous by the absence of leaves and potholes of previous years. Coming out of the dip we knew the tough climb was to follow but on top of the hill we turned left off the park road and onto the pathways into the centre of the park. We descended again back onto the road but in the opposite direction before climbing again and onto the pathways back to the centre and out via a fourth route onto the road. Descended almost to the main entrance gate before turning right for another long climb and left onto a perimeter path where we descended to near the main gate and left to complete the first of two laps.
The hills were a struggle like the previous two years but I had no idea of time. I did not seem to be losing position and in fact overtook the odd runner amongst the few that were ahead of me. Having run the Burnham Beeches half marathon a fortnight ago gave me the confidence to push on in the 2nd lap, overtaking a few on the hills. Unlike the last two years we did not see much of the field behind us given that we were on the paths for stretches. We were getting good support from some of the RFUK marshals and recall one saying that she is vegan considering joining VRUK.
The last 200 metres was back on the grass where we started. I was surprised to see that I was under 42 minutes given my last two performances have been over 44 minutes. I finished quite exhausted from the climbing. Chris our photographer informed me later that he thought I was 5th which seemed too good to be true, in fact when the official results came out the next day I was 12th out of 394 finishers, still a very high position for me and an indication of the few club runners participating.
Chris brought along his attractive white Team Vegan vest. Back to the race, our other four runners were fairly evening spaced in the field with Chris getting back to his best, about 5 minutes faster than in the 2009 event. Vanessa 54 mins was similarly 5 minutes ahead of her 2009 time followed by Jon & Cherryl in 56 minutes.
We all soon met up and was joined by Wolfgang Kunst who had arranged to purchase a vest from me on the day. Wolfgang is in training for the Berlin Marathon later this month and a half marathon and had a 2-hour training session planned for that afternoon. Took the opportunity to join us for a photo. Some RFUK officials decided to take a VRUK team photo with members holding the finishing tape.
There was not much catering as we originally anticipated at the event so we used our backup plan of revisiting the Brownswood Pub with Thai cafe we used after the 2008 event.