A sunny but breezy Saturday afternoon heralded the opening run of the 129th season of Ranelagh Harriers running club. After gathering for the traditional club photograph, we headed up to the start of the Thomas Cup - a 3.9 mile(ish) handicap race in Richmond Park.
I (David) have run this race once before (in 2007 and wasn’t sure how things would go today - after running a pretty solid 18:55 at the Bushy parkrun 5k in the morning (in 2007 I ran the 5k in 18:48).
I believe my handicap (starting time) wasn’t particularly favourable for me but there’s no use complaining - just get on with it and run as best as possible. I set off with Chris O. and within a few minutes I was overtaken by three of the faster club runners (one of which I caught up with just before the finish).
The race was fairly uneventful for me - I ran hard, fought my way up Spankers Hill Wood (a nasty little hill this one) and then pushed on till the finish. I enjoy these handicap races as towards the end it gets really busy (with all the runners closing in) and you get to see many of the other runners (as the idea behind a handicap race is that everyone should finish at around the same time - as we start over a ‘staggered’ time).
I ran the course in 25.02, which handicap-wise put me in 38th position (out of 66 finishers), but speed wise - which is more important to me - I finished 8th overall. Nothing to complain about there I’d say. Out of interest, in 2007 I finished in 26.24 - although was racing in a triathlon the following day and taking it ‘easy.’
Sharon had a reasonable run. She’s well off pace at present and finished much further down the field. The most important thing is that she knows why this is and it didn’t come as a big surprise.