Last year I went to the Welwyn 10k for the first time, after having it recommended to me from some club mates. I did enjoy it, but it started in the middle of the day, on a super hot day, and was a very hilly route. This year it had relocated to Panshanger Park, so I was really happy to sign up. My original plan was to run there and back, but the cows were back which meant the direct route was out of question, and so it would mean quite a diversion. Thankfully a few of my club mates were going so I got picked up and we travelled together.
Before and after, plus a few views from the run.
It was such a baking hot day (I think still the hottest day of the year). We found some shade before the start but knew it would be a day to take it gently and enjoy the scenery. I ended up running with one of my club mates, chatting the whole way. I walked up the two big hills, made the most of the shade, had a drink at the water station and took a few photos. The route was a really good one, with the main two hills in the first 5k, and then the second 5k being mainly flat and then downhill to the finish. The scenery around there is always so good, and it went past some of the historic parts of the park such as the old orangery (from when there was a big house there) and the old oak tree, looping past the lakes, through ancient woodland and also past the new woodland (Queen’s Green Canopy) planted for the jubilee.
The medal was a wooden one with the old oak carved into it- really lovely. My time was 1:08:54, not bad on such a hot day.
At the finish area there were a few stands, including the fab Planted Coffee co- they are usually in Panshanger over the weekend and all their drinks and food are plant based. In the final mile the two of us were deciding what our cold drinks would be, and I went for the classic iced chai. We sat in the shade and chatted while we waited for other people to finish, get their bits from the car and get a drink. I bought a blueberry croissant too, but took that home as I didn’t fancy eating straight away, I think probably because of the heat.
Iced chai, blueberry croissant, dusty legs and the wooden medal.
I really enjoyed the route and I really hope that next year they keep the location and earlier start time. When I got home I had the most hilarious lines on my legs (see above)- all the dust sticking to the suncream on my legs made them so dark.
The following week was a bit stressful- I’d booked our car in for a service on the Monday, and it was meant to be ready to collect the same day, but it wasn’t. We didn’t get it back until Thursday in the end, so a combination of getting the bus, getting a lift from a friend and finally borrowing Andy’s parents car (as they were away) was how I sorted out commuting for the week. To reward ourselves we went out for dinner with some vouchers- I had miso ginger aubergine which was amazing, and then we had a nice walk around the park after.
(One day I had to get the bus into town so my reward was a chai latte from Pret).
The following week I had the Ware 10k (where? Yes, in Ware). This has been one of my favourite races for years- there is a 10 mile and 10K option, they do free kids races, it’s super relaxed with parking right by the start, you pick up your number on the morning, the club that organise it (Ware Joggers) are so friendly, there are loads of marshals and it’s just a great event. They raise money for the Herts Air Ambulance, and you get a nice t-shirt. I wore a previous one (the green one) as I really like the fit and fabric, so it’s good value.
Start arch, banana and medal at the finish, run scenes and the medal.
The 10 mile route is sort of two laps of the 10k (slightly different of course as that would make the 10 mile too long), and this year I decided that the 10k would be sensible as it was hot and I had not completed many long runs. One of my club mates was doing the 10 mile, so we met at the start and I cheered her off, as they started about 15 mins before the 10k race.
As always, I loved the route and run. They had changed the route to make it less hilly, but there are still some hills, although mainly in the first few miles, as the final section is back along the canal/river. They had a steel pan band playing, so after I finished I went around and watched them for a bit as I love that summery sound. My time was 1:01:32- much quicker than last week but it was much cooler so I was not surprised. But these races aren’t about times for me, they are about enjoying running somewhere else and supporting local causes.
On the way home I stopped off at Panshanger (I had to drive right past it) to get a drink and pastry (vanilla and hazelnut- so good).
Here’s to more local races with my lovely club mates!