Chippenham River Run 5K Race Report

Its no good, I couldn’t leave my race report as just a few words. So here’s a few more.

Well the day was sunny and warm all day, which was a little worrying. However, clouds gathered as the day wore on. I arrived at around 6.45 and was perturbed to realise I actually had to pay to park. Was very pleased to spot my race partner also at the Pay machine.

We walked down to the start area, which was really busy. For a little race, there were apparently 367 entrants, so maybe not so little. I saw my running group and went to say hello.

Me & RP (race partner) sauntered towards the start line, and proceeded to set off for our ‘little jogette’ warm-up. We discovered at this point that the grass had obviously been very long and wet, and had recently been cut so it was rough, bumpy and covered with the grass clippings. We arranged ourselves in the start-up melee, and made our plans for the start. The course crosses a field to start towards the river, and then goes onto a fairly narrow path (you have to run single file). We discovered last year that if you get stuck behind slower runners, you stay stuck as it’s hard to overtake. So this year’s plan was to make sure we didn’t get manouevered to the back before the race even started, and then as soon as the fog horn sounded, to sprint as fast as we could to the path.

The plan was working fine, RP pointed out to me a couple of people who were squeezing in front of us at the start so we could reclaim our places. However when the starting horn sounded, it was obvious that everyone else had the same plan as us, as it was a mad stampede! Not easy on the rough surface. A man stopped in front of us to look around, obviously for a running partner, so we had to skip around him, and then on our left a lady fell over, face first. Hope she didn’t get trampled!

We made it safely to the first corner, running way faster than either of our plans, so settled in there for the race. There was some over-taking as people sorted themselves out, and as I glanced behind I could see Mel was a couple of people behind me. He waved at me, so I carried on. I was feeling good at this point, although looking at the Garmin had me worried that I was going too fast. Still, I thought I could always slow down at the end.

Mile 2 has some uphill bits in it – up from the river bank to the road side, and then up a zig zag ramp to the cycle path. As I zagged, I could see Mel was zigging. He waved again, so I hoped that meant he was fine, and felt a bit guilty as I pressed on. Even with these slopes I felt great, and overtook a few more people on the wider cyclepath. As we climbed up off the cyclepath, I knew it was all downhill through a housing estate back to the river bank.

Determined ‘Sprint’ Finish

The third mile is back along the river bank on the single file path, mostly retracing our steps. By now I was starting to feel a little tired, breathing was a little more ragged, but to be honest not nearly as bad as I would have thought. I passed a few people, and nearly ran into the back of a couple of girls who stopped right in front of me. As we reached the corner with just the field to cross to the finish line, one helpful marshal shouted “Only 400 metres to go. Time to turn it on now!” I thought “I HAVE turned it on!!!!!” I chased a lady across the field but as she heard me come up behind her she put on a spurt to cross the line just in front of me. As I ran to the finish ‘funnel’, 2 of my running club were there shouting me in. That was lovely, as for a change I hadn’t dragged my family there with me.

As I shuffled through the finish area, I could just see RP coming in behind me.

Finish time – 27:46 Splits were 9:03, 9:12, 8:51 and 8 seconds to finish. (don’t think I’ve EVER had a split starting with an 8 before!!!)

By comparison, last years’ time was 30:20, so I took 2 minutes 34 off my previous PB. Still VERY pleased – It felt fast, *I* felt fast! It was hard work, but it never felt uncomfortable. Yes I was tired at the end and desperate for a drink of water, but I wasn’t gasping or falling to the floor with exhaustion.

Overall, very VERY pleased – and amazed that a schedule designed to speed up my longer races is having such a great effect on shorter ones too (thanks AH!)  3M recovery run the next morning, and apart from legs feeling generally tired, I had no aches or pains which really in amazing.

Roll  on the next one!

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