A year ago on Sunday Sharon took part in her first ever 10k race - the Goring, Woodcote and District Lions 10k. David had planned to run the race but on the day chose not to because of injury.
This time around we returned to Goring to run Sharon’s first ever “repeat” race - one year on. More on that further down the page…firstly here’s David’s account.
Once again it was touch and go for me running as I managed to pick up a bit of an injury a couple of weeks ago. I’d done hardly any running at all during the previous week (read 6 miles total) and a 10k would double my mileage - that is, if I could get round it in one piece.
Sharon and I were joined by the rest of our running “team” (read Danny and Kirsty) and it was great to go racing with them again (like we did last at the Bedford Half Marathon and many other races in 2007).
After arriving with plenty of time to spare (we were the second car to park in the car park!) we went for a walk to race HQ to check out the facilities, and then look at the finishing area and take a walk along the finishing straight. Well, lets just say it was incredibly icy on the road and very slippery. This could be a big big problem during the race. It was a clear day and the sun was shining but with it being so low in the sky it was doubtful whether it would be able to melt the ice before the race started in just over an hours time.
Anyway, usual pre-race prep took place, toilet, drink, pin race number onto clothes, toilet (again) and then Danny and myself went for a warm up run of about 1.5 miles, and Sharon and Kirsty doing the same as well.
The start was very prompt and easy to get a good spot in - I started in the second row and tried to ensure that I wouldn’t get carried away and go off too quickly. The first km was if anything slightly downhill and I clocked a split of 3:42. Up until around the 5k mark it was pretty much downhill and fast all the way. This was great, apart from the fact that you know you’re going to have to run back up the hills in the second half! My 5k split was 18:47, which was fine as I had to conserve energy and I wasn’t on proper form going into the race.
At about 4k I was overtaken by the leading lady (from Reading Road Runners - it was very well attended race by them - 12 out of the first 30 were from the club) who gently drifted ahead of me. A little later on the second lady came past (also from Reading). I stayed close by to them but ran my own race and tried to not get carried away and drawn into to any personal races.
We then started to head uphill - the first part wasn’t so bad, and the view at the top was amazing. You run past a field of big fat pigs (Sharon told us about these from last years race) and they were there to cheeroink us on. You then slowly drift downhill until just after the 7k mark.
At this point things take a turn…uphill…for the final 3k to the finish. This is over 1.5 miles of torture - and it really was slow going. I stayed strong and held my position (I think I got past a couple of people in this section) and it was a great relief to make it to the top (as its just around the corner from the finishing straight).
The ice that I feared only made one appearance when a chap running just ahead of me slipped slightly and I did exactly the same a couple of seconds later. Thankfully that was the worst of it for me. I then continued to push right the way to the finish - and finished 3 seconds behind the second lady.
My finishing time was 40:55, which although I would have loved sub-40, was plenty good enough considering the conditions. In the overall results I finished 30th out of 451 finishers. I was then met at the finish by Danny, who finished 3rd (yup, 3rd) and we went for a cool-down jog back against the runners still finishing. We cheered Kirsty on and then turned just after Sharon came past and ran to the finish behind her.
Following the race and the prize-giving (to watch Danny get his prize) the four of us jumped in the car and headed off to a pub a few miles up the road and had a lovely roast dinner. An excellent day and race, and one I plan to do in 2009 - where I’ll run it sub-40 minutes for sure - you wait and see…now over to Sharon…
So, as already mentioned, this was my first “repeat race”. I was really looking forward to it but an on-going injury (lasting about 14 weeks to this point) had put paid to my doing really well in this race but I wanted to do better than last year. Which I hoped would not be too difficult.
After the warm-up and only two visits to the loo, we were on the start line and off. I stopped Kirsty from starting too far back, was overtaken by lots of people but I always stay to the side so people can go past me easily. The first half of the race was fine, mostly downhill with a couple of short inclines but I was saving my energy…remember, I knew what was to come!
After the bottom of the hill, the water-stop appeared (I didn’t have any icy water this time around) and then I knew it was on the up to pig hill :) The kilometre long hill was fine, much better than last year. I made it to the top to say “hello” to the piggies and then it was a level and downhill section with the most amazing view. The was an incredible stream of runners down the hill, around a very wiggly bend and then up…of course I knew all about the up which was to come. Last year, I walked between 8 and 9 kilometres, this year I was determined not to walk a step until I crossed the finish line. I have to confess, it was so hard and I had to dig deep. The thing that kept me going was going past a few people on the hill, then the next thing I knew I saw David and Danny. They gave me some gentle encouragement up the hill, which seemed never-ending and so unrelenting and unforgiving. I knew my time target was out of the window but it was all about not walking now! I struggled on, even managing an extra push to the line, after I saw Kirsty, and in the process I overtook someone literally on the line. Hey, just because I’m slow, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to beat people.
So, how did I do compared to last year? Well, last year I finished in 71:40, this year in 60:28 (both watch times, as the official timing has been out on both occasions, making me quicker than I was!). Last year I was 414/423, this year I was 341/451 - so a great improvement on my placing and time. I was, I admit, quite disappointed to go back over the hour again but then when I looked at my other 10km races, only twice had I run faster. Once in Brighton in November for my PB and once in Lanzarote, which wasn’t an officially measured course - I managed to run faster this year on the tough Goring course than I had in May at Bognor on a totally flat road course.
Naturally, we will be entering this race again, I love it, the scenery is gorgeous and it’s well organised. I think it’s akin to childbirth. You sort of forget how hideous it is once it’s all over and start to romanticise it - and do it again. Of course, when you’re doing it again, you wonder why…