Welwyn 10K 2024

I’ve completed this race twice before- the first time I ran it, it was in Welwyn village and was a very hilly route on lots of country roads. Last year it moved to Panshanger Park, and despite it being a baking hot day (remember those?) I really enjoyed it. Yes, there are hills, but they are in the first half, and it’s so scenic in the park and it’s fantastic to be on a traffic free route.

A few other OH ladies were also taking part. We met at the start- it’s very relaxed with the parking right by the start, you pick up your number on the morning and then it starts.

Unlike last year, it was raining as I was driving, and it felt quite cold too. I had opted for a vest and shorts because I got so hot last year, and actually this was OK as once I started running I warmed up.

Here’s the route- there’s a very steep uphill section where it says Chisel Shelf, another shorter one further around on that section, and then a long section by Poplars Grove, but after that it’s mainly flat and then slightly downhill to the finish.

The High Sheriff was there (under a huge umbrella)- she really is making her way around lots of the sporting occasions in Herts.

I ran with another OH lady (Shelley- I also ran with her for the summer solstice run)- we ran together last year too and enjoyed setting the world to rights as we tend to do when we run together.

Pre-run selfie, the high sheriff with her umbrella, and a few mid-run photos.- the bottom right one shows how steep the hill is about to be!

It actually stopped raining before the start which was good, and once I started running I warmed up quickly. I had to walk up the first steepest hill, and then spent a while catching up with Shelley as she had run up the hill.

The final hill is the reverse of the final section of the parkrun route- in the parkrun route you run down, but this was up and it feels a lot longer when you are running up! I walked a bit here too as it’s a fairly long section, but after that it was time to run the rest (around half left I think). We did have a few spots of rain as we ran around one of the fields, and as we headed back towards the finish area you could feel a cool breeze, but this was quite welcome.

Medal selfie, photos in the frame and a close up of the medal, and tea with oat milk

A few of the OH ladies had already finished, so after we finished and collected a medal and cup of water, we stood by the finish to cheer the others in. Last year the wonderful Planted Coffee van was at the finish, and I was a bit disappointed this year as they had put out that a coffee van would be there, and when I asked if it was Planted, told that it was, but then it turned out to be a Cafe 2U one. The scouts had a coffee and tea station too, raising money for a trip to Switzerland, and they had oat milk so I went for a cup of tea from them. A cup of tea after a run really helps me to feel better so it was perfect.

Of course we took a few photos with the frames before it was time to head home. A shame that it was a drizzly day but easier conditions than the baking heat of last year. I still enjoyed the route so I will be back again next year I am sure!

What is your drink of choice when you have finished running?

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!