Summer Solstice 10K 2024

A local club, the St Albans Striders, host lots of 10k races, including this Summer Solstice 10k, held in the evening of the summer solstice. Despite it being close by and often well-attended by my club, I’ve not ever done it before. Often I’ve been at a yoga class, or had a meeting after school which meant I couldn’t get back in time to head out. But this year, the diary looked clear enough with a meeting that ended at 4:30, so I signed up.

It’s a bargain at around £15- you get a medal at the end, a water station on the route and water at the end, so not bad for that price.

It happened to be the same day as one of the England matches, so traffic getting home was a bit of a nightmare as I think everyone was leaving to be home for the 5pm kick off. I didn’t manage that but I did get home in time for the goal.

I find evening races harder for fuelling and being hydrated, so this time after making myself drink more than usual during the day, I opted for a cup of tea and some toast, hopefully leaving long enough between that and the race start.

Heading to the start line with mu number- look at the weather!

You had to collect your number on the day, and the registration opened at 6:45, with the race starting at 7:45, so I got there at about 7, walked around to collect my number, walked back to my car to sort it out and swap into my vest (it was way too hot for a t-shirt which I was wearing), and then walked back to the start to find the rest of my club.

It was such a gorgeous evening! Earlier in the week it had been forecast to rain, but by midweek that had disappeared and we were lucky with just beautiful sunshine. I opted for sunglasses because I struggle in the low sun, but a lot of the route was shaded so I probably would have been fine in my regular glasses.

Pre run photos- pink on one side, green on the other, then alternating, the attempt of a jump and trainers!

Of course we had to get some photos, and when we realised we had 3 in pink and 3 in green (and me in black) we tried out different formations. We also were persuaded to try a jump (which I have never managed to do)- it ended up being my favourite photo as half of us are jumping and half are not.

My mid run selfie attempt/ scenes of the race and the start/finish arch

After a quick briefing we were off. The route started in a park, soon joining the Alban Way (an old railway line that is now a footpath and cycle path), eventually doubling back coming back to the park again.

I ran with Shelley, and took a few photos mid-run as it was so pretty with the low evening light. She did convince me that I could do a mid run selfie, but as you can see above I cannot, and in fact nearly ran into a bush while I was trying to take it!

Medal photos and such a gorgeous sunset

As we headed to the finish some of our OH ladies who had already finished were cheering us in, so after getting our medals and a cup of water we headed to join them. The race did have a great atmosphere and was encouraging to the back of the pack runners, despite being organised by a club (with a speedy reputation).

The medal is really pretty too- such pretty colours with the km markers around the outside of the sun shape. Totally worth it! I got a bit chilly and I think if I did it again I’d leave an old jumper in the field as then I could put it on once I finished (as they said there was no bag drop). But that is a minor thing and just something to remember for next time.

There were food stalls (including vegan options) but it felt too late to eat a big meal by then, so I drove home, showered and had some cereal before bed.

How do you cope with evening races? I am definitely getting better- I did a 10k in Bournemouth years ago and that was not a good experience as I had eaten lunch too close to the start time, whereas the Bedford one I did with Dad last year was better in that respect.

Also, the next morning I was so thirsty. I drank a glass of water, water with a rehydration tab, made a matcha and also had a green smoothie. I was definitely a bit dehydrated!

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2 thoughts on “Summer Solstice 10K 2024”

  1. Despite having an absolute emotional meltdown during this race and phoning Tom several times, I ended up enjoying this one. I’m much more of a morning runner, so find running in the evening much trickier, but I appreciated a midweek race rather than using up a Sunday to do one.

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