Some of the event team at Panshanger parkrun launched a midsummer series of two 5 mile races on Thursday evenings. The first one was last Thursday, in the ground of Hatfield House.
It didn’t start until 7.30, but I didn’t want to have dinner before. We had sports day at work and then went out for lunch, but I didn’t fancy any of the vegetarian options (a brie panini- I don’t like brie, or a cheddar baguette, which didn’t sound that exciting) so I had a huge iced bun instead, and some tea. I didn’t get home from work until nearly 6pm, so I had a few nakd nibbles, a couple of crackers and some coconut water, before changing and heading out.
As it was so local, lots of the club were running and supporting. They also had a kids race which is always a nice addition.
I had not really thought about time at all, and I was chatting to my running buddy Elaine when the race started- we were right at the back but I think that is always best, especially when it is chip timed.
I had looked at the map but as I have only run in the grounds a handful of times, I didn’t really know the route at all. It started off uphill towards the house, then down, parallel to the start. Then the route went through some fields, gently uphill for the first mile. Then came a bigger hill- it was only when I got to the top that I realised it was a hill that we ran down on our Tuesday night club run- I a glad I didn’t know at the beginning as I think psychologically it would have been tough knowing how long it went on for. As I had started right at the back I was steadily catching up with some of my club mates- it is lovely to know faces at events like this and gasp a quick “hi” between breaths.
After the longer hill (which I think finished around the 2 mile point) it was a flat path through woodlands- it was a very scenic place to run, with foxgloves towering over the ferns and shrubs in the woods- some of them were well over 2 metres tall! I was smiling all the way through! I had managed to keep Elaine in my sights (she is normally much quicker, but has been training to swim a relay of the channel so has not done as much running recently) and eventually caught up with her. We had some lovey downhill sections too, although I did feel like I was being cautious and was overtaken by quite a few people here- I think I am still worried about falling. The loop finished on a track through more fields (more lovely scenery) and then we re-traced our steps for the final mile- an uphill section to the front of the house, and then a lovely downhill to the finish. On the uphill I was really gasping, and running alongside me were some other girls who were equally noisy! On the downhill I could see the cheer squad and so I tried to really push on and I felt like I was sprinting- the photos may suggest otherwise!
At the finish someone cut the chip from my shoe, and then I got a bottle of water and a banana (hooray!)- Elaine finished around the same time as me (I can’t remember which was we finished) so we had a little chat and a photo (of course). I got my print out right away- 45.25 was my chip time, so in fact I think that was only 40 seconds off my 5 mile pb (which was from a very flat course)- not too shabby!
I then wandered over to the club cheer squad where I was given the most amazing flapjack- it had caramel sauce, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate chips on the top. So good.
So it seems like the iced bun was a good option in the end! The next one is in two weeks time, at Panshanger, so I think it is likely to be a bit more hilly…
By the time I got home and had a shower, it was gone half 9, so I had some toast and watermelon- it felt very late to be eating though. I don’t think I have ever done an evening race before- the Bournemouth 10K was at 4pm I think, so a bit too close to lunch time. This was better being later, although personally 6.30 or 7 would have been preferable.
Have you ever raced in the evening?