Often I have not been around for the Hatfield 5, as it coincides with the occasional day which means we may well be at a lovely European Christmas market. This year (2022), I was around so decided to sign up. It’s a great race- you pick up your number on the day, parking is right there by the start, lots of marshals, a flat route, and lots of club runners take part.
Saturday was a regular parkrun at Jersey Farm with Dad- after our touring for his 250th and to reclaim Queen of Herts, we hadn’t actually been there for ages (I’d not run there since July) so it was great to run/walk to the start together and enjoy the route.
The race didn’t start until 10am, and you could collect your number up until 9:45, so I got there at about 9:30 to pick up my number and catch up with my running friends. It’s so good to be at a local race as you bump into people that you’ve not seen for a while. It starts at one of the Uni buildings (did you know that the library was used as the outside of the hospital in Bad Sisters?), so there are real toilets if you need them, plus a shelter from the rain. The bag drop was supervised but you just attached a strip with your number to your bag- I’d brought along a jumper for after and that was about it.
We had our traditional pre-race picture on the stairs and then it was time to head to the start.
Stair photo, after with medal in front of wonky Christmas tree, during the race, and the special postbox.
I had purposely not looked at my previous times, as I knew my 5 mile pb was from there (something like 44:44) and I didn’t think I would be close to it, so just wanted to enjoy it.
The route is nice and flat, heading out from the uni, along a cycle path, through some residential areas, alongside a dual carriageway for a short section before going back on the cycle path and then back to the uni. I was not looking at my watch, trying to run on feel. At one point I saw a cool black postbox, so of course I stopped to take a photo. As I did, I heard someone from behind call out “postbox nerd”, so I laughed and then carried on running. They then asked me why I was taking a picture of it, and I was about to launch into a speech about With Me Now pod, and how in lockdown people got into looking at the cyphers on postboxes, when the person caught up with me and I realised that it was actually Danny Norman the presenter himself. Oops! I knew he was running it but thought he’d be ahead, and the thought just didn’t enter my mind! I think he felt a bit like other people might judge him for saying something like that to someone he didn’t know, but I wouldn’t have minded even if I didn’t know them as I sounded jokey. Anyway, we ended up running and chatting for a bit before he overtook me, and then later I went past him and we had another chat.
My official finish time was 45:44 which was way faster than I had expected, so I was very pleased.
Once you crossed the finish line there was a huge queue for water and medals, which I hadn’t seen before when I’d taken part. I ended up being next to Danny’s partner in the queue, so we had a nice chat before getting some water and a medal. I also caught up with some other running friends (the lovely Branka who I know via parkrun) and a colleague that I used to work with and haven’t seen for ages. I chatted a bit to some of my club mates at the end and one of them offered to take the photo for me as I was admiring the wonky Christmas tree!
It was a chilly morning so I didn’t hang about for too long, quickly picking up my bag from the drop and heading home for a shower and then the next Disney film that Disniversity were covering.