Woodley 10K (Reading) – 18 May

Sid’s achievement of 2nd V50 was mentioned shortly after the event in May but it is worth a longer report here.

Both Sid & myself had a considerable journey on the day to reach the venue and with a 11am start allowed us enough time. On reaching Reading by train we still had a 5 miles or so cycle journey. Last year we had a significant turnout without my presence and Bronwyn Putman was running in the junior 3K. Unfortunately this time there were no local members to greet us.

It was dry and warming up for the Woodley 10K with the venue in the local park. As we lined up we soon found ourselves near the start line. There was however a delay to await the finish of the last junior runners. This was a typical ‘unattached runners’ event with few running club vests in evidence apart from the two Reading clubs and VRUK. As we started down the short hill, it was noted that many raced ahead only to ease up very soon on the road. Although I went off at a good pace after two recent events had given me the confidence and fitness, Sid soon eased past me and opened up a 50 metres gap in a short space of time. The course was flat but in the residential streets of Woodley, there were a lot of driveways to cross over and by halfway we were constrained to run on the pavements. With the left foot higher than the right as we crossed driveways, I did wonder if it would bring on a calf strain and certainly made it uncomfortable.

After running over a bridge at about halfway we seemed to be running slightly downhill for a long time and on the same road which made it a little easier despite the driveways. With Sid still a significant distance ahead I did not think I would close the gap this time however last October a similar situation occurred at the Chichester 10K and I managed to pass Sid at about halfway. Given my fairly fast start I was beginning to slow but also passing other runners and slowly creeping up on Sid.

As we turned off the long road we began to climb which slowed us significantly and it was here I caught Sid at about 8K. It was a tiring last 2K but still managed to up the pace again and push hard up the hill in the park to finish in 41.18, my best this year. Sid was disappointed to loose a few places as he approached the line but still a good time of 41.27.

Before the start we had noticed there was free tea on offer although not ideal before a race. I should have brought a supply of soya otherwise it was black tea inside the venue. Sid was keen to see the results and when they were available he was surprised given his performance to be the 2nd V50 male, the other V50 male runner was just ahead of me. There were lots of V40 runners ahead of me. Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me to capture the moment Sid went forward to collect his trophy.

Sid suggested we attempt to meet up with John Morgan at his workplace, the Rivermead Leisure Centre, the former venue for the Reading Half Marathon where I achieved a time of 1.26 at my peak back in the mid-90s. It was a longish ride on the fold-up bike so, a good warm down after the run. John was there and allowed to take a break!

Desperate for some food we visited the leisure centre cafe which served up some vegan fast food although not ideal. Close to the Thames River, I finished off the day with a walk along the bank and observed the local rowing club members out for a training session.