This time last year I was running through torrential rain wishing I had trail shoes or ski poles.
This time the weather was warmer (relatively speaking) and much drier. I still chose to wear trail shoes as the Ware 10 is pretty much all off road, apart from a small section through residential streets, and it had rained a lot in the week leading up to it.
Trail shoes ready- not as vital as last year, but still a good option.
The race HQ was about 20 minutes drive away, and it didn’t start until 10.30, so I got up, had breakfast (Clif bar and peppermint tea- didn’t fancy toast which is what I have had pre-race the last few times) and headed off some time after 9. I did have a panic part the way there that I should have had my number with me, but no, you have to pick it up at the start. It is so well organised- the car park was signposted, marshals directing where to park, and then the race HQ was in the field next to the car park. I don’t normally use the port-a-loos at races, but I had been faffing about for a bit, so used them, and here is the miracle- they were clean, with toilet paper, and had soap! I picked up my bits, attached timing chip to my shoe, went back to my car for a bit, wandered about and then met up with my Sweatshop buddies. We had a little chat before the race started- I didn’t want to get lapped by the faster runners, and we were all looking forward to cakes at the end!
So, the plan. Well, I wanted to beat my time from last year, because last year it was a week after running a half marathon, the weather was better, plus I like to think I am getting a bit faster. My time last year was 1:40.58, so a shade over 10 minute miles, so this time I aimed for just under. My plan was to try and keep up with my friend for as long as possible, but she had a cold so tended to hang with me and stopped at the water stations.
Here is the elevation profile (in green):
Fun hills, especially the second time around! The route is around a field, 2 laps of paths, fields, towpaths etc and then back through the field again. Again, the marshals were fab, the 1 mile marker came up so quickly (just 3 parkruns to go), the scenery was pretty, and apart from the first mile (a bit of congestion) I kept under 10 min miles every time I glanced at my watch. It wasn’t easy- I got a stitch in the same place on both laps (no idea why- it was a flatter part of the course too, although it was right into the wind and I got quite cold so not sure if it was to do with that). On passing the midway point a marshal cheered “you didn’t get lapped- well done!”- I was indeed very pleased with that! I really love the marshals at this race- it is a proper lovely running community, and I think if I lived closer I would look at joining, but in reality it is a bit too far for me to end up going for training. I was often running right behind or in front of a group of Ware joggers, and they were all being greeted by name and having a chat with the marshals as they ran past. At one point I was cheered on by an older man who said something like “keep it up young lady, good girl” which was slightly strange! But really I loved how encouraging they all were. Plus I will say it again, I have never seen another race with so many marshals- they were everywhere.
On the towpath of the last loop my friend with the cold overtook me and so although my stitch was back I tried to keep her in sight- I find that sometimes helps take my mind off things like that.
Coming into the field there were lots of people there- runners who had finished as well as friends etc- they were cheering everyone in (come on number 20) and someone was reading out names as we came towards the finish- a nice touch.
I was so pleased to see 1.36 on my watch- I didn’t know my official time (I could not remember exactly when I started it) but I was pretty sure I had a pb at that point.
Someone cut the chip off my shoe (another great touch) and then I got some water and my super bright technical t-shirt.
It is bright green- great for winter running. Plus, this year they had small sizes left! Hooray!
I put mine on over my t-shirt as I was getting pretty cold, and then it was time for the cakes, oh yes.
There was a tent with tables covered in home-baked goodies- a cake + hot drink for £1. The best part? The marshals in the tent had on high-viz tabbards with “Tea and cake marshal” printed on them. The best job ever!
I went for a slice of fruity tea-loaf and a blackcurrant tea- it hit the spot!
The three of us had our photo taken together, and watched the prize giving before heading home. Again, super easy.to leave- no traffic jam, no stress, just hit the road (and the heating!).
Later on I looked up my time- 1:36.12, so a new pb by over 4 minutes! Not too shabby!
It is not the easiest course, but it is so enjoyable, and really reasonably-priced (I think it was £17 un-affiliated which is so cheap compared to even other 10K’s around here- and that included a technical t)- I am pretty sure I will be back again next year too.
Are there races you like to re-visit each year? There are not many that I have run more than once, but I am making an exception for this one. I really loved the 10K I did in Nottingham but for the last few years we have been busy on that weekend. There is also a local 10K which I really liked, but for the last 2 years it has been the same date as Ware 10, so it has lost out there. Why are they all on the same day??
Any races you would never do again? The Great South Run for me is on that list. Yes it was fast and flat with more crowd support, and I raised money for charity so I am glad I did it, but it was so badly organised, and so expensive- read my ranting here if you are interested!