Despite it being two months ago, I feel I should post my thoughts on my first 10k race. The Evesham Vale 10k was (in my non-existent experience) well organised, and as I hoped good for a first-timer.Before and at the start it was drizzling persistently, which made me nervous: was it going to rain throughout? But after a few km it had stopped, and the sun had come out by the finish, which was great for the celebrations.


There was much nervous milling around on the side roads of the town, with some apparently wasting energy by sprinting up an down. At 10:25 the High St was shut and we all then gathered by our respective speed groups. I was planning to beat 65 minutes, so it was discouraging to find the slowest time group was simply the "over 55 mins". But I was from alone, and I landed up next to another first-timer -- which was good until I realised she was wearing Lycra and surely was more serious about it all. It was curiously quiet waiting for the start, standing ten abreast, with a few brief sentences to be polite and ease tension. Then the signal to start and 700 of us began to jog an then run, now with only the sound of breath and footsteps.My first mistake came at about 1km, when we ran past some tables with water bottles set out. I was a bit surprised, but grabbed one anyway, only a few seconds later realising that they were supposed to be for collection when we passed back the other way in about 4km time. I'd not run with a bottle before, and it wasn't easy to hold or use. It stopped my thirst but it could have lost me some energy. Daft as I'd just bought an easy-to-hold runners bottle, but heeded advice not to use it for the first time in a race.


My other mistake was not having a basic watch on. I'm used to getting pace and distance info from my iPod, but headphones being banned that option was out. (Though a few flouted that rule.) So I was not sure what my time was until almost the end, when I heard the announcer urge finishers some distance in front of me to "sprint to beat the hour". Despite finding km 8-9 hard work, I probably could have come in just under 60 mins if I'd pushed. I was still very pleased with my sub 10-minute mile average, and that I did it without stopping.Will I do another one, or longer distances? I might manage a half marathon (about 20km) but at the moment I think I'd find the training just too dull. I get bored after about 40 mins even with interesting music an podcasts ...Perhaps the next challenge is to get Martha to join me. She used to be a very fast cross-country runner at school ...

AuthorJonathan Clark