Bit of a strange one this – driving 65 miles to a little town in Oxfordshire for a five mile road race – but when Didcot is where your godson lives it’s a bloody good reason to make a visit and to do a little exercise at the same time! The children were going to be taking part in the 2 mile fun-run being held after the 5 mile race so this was my cool-down run sorted!
We arrived with plenty of time to spare and after a cup of coffee I headed off for a warm-up. The race is a flat figure-of-eight course completely on footpaths around a large housing estate – ideal for a fast time. Weather wise it was great – warm but only a very light breeze.
Although it’s only a small race (in 2010 there were 157 finishers) the winning time was quick (25 minutes – 5 minute miling pace) so I knew I’d be some way back off of the front.
The start was pretty empty and I found myself on the line. My only plan for today was to push hard and if I could hang onto something like 6 minute miling for a time of around 30 minutes I’d be happy.
The first couple of minutes I pushed off a little too quickly but that seems to happen in most races. I then settled into a pace and had a runner very close to me for a couple of miles or so. The leading runners were way up ahead and the next group up from me were two chaps and the leading woman.
Going through 5km my time was 18:39.
I then edged ahead of my nearest rival and kept the pressure on. One of the men ahead of me pulled to the side with an ankle injury and I found myself closing in on the woman ahead of me.
I continued to dig in, hold pace and in the last mile I got past her and pushed on to the finish.
As I crossed the line the clock showed 30:01 which was close enough to 30 minutes for my liking! I really pushed hard this morning and I think I had a great run. It was hot out there and there was no drafting to be had for the entire 5 miles. Extrapolating this time out to 10k a sub-38 minute time is certainly possible. Perhaps something to aim for.
The winning time was 27:15 and my 30:01 put me in 9th position overall (out of 100 finishers).
Following the ‘main event’ it was time to run the 2 mile fun-run with seven year old Grace. I can’t say that her pacing was up to much but although we ‘sprinted’ about 20 times, watched her sit on a bench to rest and also stop to look at a birds egg on the side of the path we ran the 2 miles in 21:55. This was 10 minute 58 mile pace so not bad at all I’d say. During the fun run, Harry raced off with his pals and finished in around 19 minutes, he looked pretty pleased. Harry and Grace both beat their Mum, Kate ;) Clearly she let them win…
The day continued with a visit to a Donkey Show (a bit like a dog show, but with donkeys!) and then lunch by the River Thames. Good times.