A tale of two races

Two weeks, two races. A muddy, hilly trail race and a fast, flat 10K. Both pretty chilly, both hard work but both an achievement in their very different ways.

Last week was the Wickstead Wander. A 5 mile meander over hills, down paths, through farm yards and over horse jumps. And through water jumps. It was good fun, despite being able to see runners in front of you then learning there’s actually an extra sneaky loop you can’t see between you. I loved the marshals who helped runners leap over a stream, and the biggest water jump had marshals armed with cameras and a safety inflatable dolphin. In my defence, I couldn’t see how deep the water was so tried to lower myself elegantly into the black, smelly water.

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All the elegance
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Made it!

I enjoyed the race and would do it again. 5.3 miles in 58:42

Race number 2 – the Bromham Pudding Run. This is 2 lap race around the village of Bromham, organised by and with all profits going to the village school’s PTA. There’s no medal at the end, but every finisher does get a Christmas pudding. Does this make it sound like it’s a small, amateurish affair? Don’t get the wrong idea – this race is a flat and fast course, so it attracts serious, speedy runners. It is fantastically organised with some of the most enthusiastic marshals around (clapping, cheering, playing Christmas music – these guys are pros!)

After being injured and not running ‘properly’ for so long I felt like a beginner in my first race. I didn’t know what pace to run, or what time to hope for, but I vaguely knew I’d be very happy to get anywhere near an hour, as I remember how hard I worked first time around to do that.

I ran with a friend from my running club, who was aiming for just under an hour to beat her PB.

Swishy pony tail!
Swishy pony tail!

We worked hard together, enjoyed the sunshine despite the frost and although I left her in the last mile (she told me to go!) we finished within 30 seconds or so of each other. The photo shows me crossing the finish line feeling shattered but happy.

Finish line in sight!

I collected my official time, and was split between being pleased with getting so close to an hour and being annoyed at how close to the hour it was.

Just 3.9 seconds!

6.2 miles in 1:00:03.9 – I’ll take that!

I’d forgotten just how hard ‘proper’ races are (ones that don’t involve mud, water or hills) but I’m very glad I did this one as it’s boosted my confidence no end.

Next weekend, it’s back to the mud and hills again …

Bromham Pudding Run 7th December 2014

I did think with a name like the Pudding Run this race promised to be great. The fact that it sold out in a week back at the end of September was another good sign. I actually was given a place by a lovely man who was injured and I was able to transfer the place to myself just a few days before (how come bigger races can’t do this?!) I was even offered a lift by a friend, Julia, which was a good omen and great company.

As soon as we got to race HQ it was obvious why this race is so popular. It raises funds for the local primary school, so it has a lovely atmosphere, and the youngest baggage reclaim team I’ve ever seen. The runners were a mixture of super keen club runners, ordinary runners like myself, and runners who’d made the effort and were wearing Christmas jumpers and hats. The course was as flat as advertised which was great for PB chasing but one open section suffered from strong head winds over the flat fields. I always find laps of a race hard, so unsurprisingly I came to the end of the first 5K lap thinking

“I’ll just stop now. I don’t need to do another lap.”
“But you won’t get your pudding!”
“I don’t even like Christmas pudding!!”

Fortunately by the time I’d finished this internal monologue I’d passed the finish line and was on my second lap. It was hard, I didn’t beat my PB, I was overtaken on the final straight by a lady in an amazing Christmas Tree hat, but it was a great race. There was even a choice of puddings, so Grinches like me could have syrup sponge or chocolate pudding instead. It was great, and I will be signing up next September.

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With Julia and her pudding, at her first ever race

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My pudding of choice. Yum