Ashtead 10k Grand Prix #7

Update: Photos now online here.

Sorry about the delay caused by the extravagant celebrations of my birthday.  Hello to my new competitors in the V50 class, and ou-revoir to those I’ve left temporarily behind.   Richard Goulder did a great job of conveying the facts of the race in his race report and since he and his team mates are now thrice quiz night champions I think I’ll leave the tricky bits of who came where and how many to him.  Suffice to say that the race was a triumph and we all did very well and the club dominated the top places and had impressive strength in depth.

The 11am start time is a civilized feature of Trionium races.  Another race you might like to try from the same organisation is the “Picnic Marathon” which starts at a similar time and then goes up and down the steepest bits of Box Hill over and over and is the clearest example of the sadism which lies at the heart of, we sometimes suspect, most race directors.  It reminds me of something our Cap’n Stone put on Facebook.  “At 20 miles you think you will die.  At 23 miles you wish you would die.  At 26.2 miles you know that nothing can kill you.”  But it  turns out that Mr Trionium or Doctor Rob as he is also known, has our interests at heart and provides copious sports candy in the form of carrots and apples at the finish.  On the other hand, although it costs the same to provide such things at the end of a 10k as a Marathon, it’s hard to perceive the value as the same and you would expect the Ashtead 10k to cost about the same as other local excellently run 10k races, our own Valentines 10k springs to mind.

Ahh, I remember my first 10k, many moons ago.  Ironically I was described as a “senior” in those days, and as a Serpie, I ran an excellently organised local race, the Valentines 10k.  I was a fairly inexperienced runner and my focus had been entirely on endurance and the intensity of a 10k was a bit of a shock.  I went down Chalk Lane making the perfect impression of some kind of primitive steam engine and by the time I got to 8k I thought that simultaneously I would be sick, my lungs would burst and my eyes would fall out.  Naturally following this harrowing experience it took about 5 minutes after the finnish for me to start thinking of signing up for my next race where I would really go for it.

Off the runners went!  What excitement!  Meanwhile… Ann Bath was nearing the 100 mile mark in her 24 hour track race.  A truly remarkable feat.  Not a lot of people know that before Ann took up Ultrarunning she was over 6 foot tall.  Meanwhile… an intrepid gang of 26.2ers including myself were closing in on the halfway point on their last marathon training odyssey.  Just in time to see our teammates whiz round the turning point running as if pursued by wild horses.

It was rather humid.  In fact it was like a jungle out there.  The air was as thick as porridge and we were plagued by leeches.   I quickly became as slimy as a slug, though some would say not as attractive.  We ran the last half of the course once the hurly-burly had died down and we would not get in the way.  There was a bit of a hill at one point.  What is it with runners and hills?  If it was a flat course would everyone suddenly decide to run flat out for some random mile in the middle of the race?   Constant effort is the most efficient.  I vote we should do our hill training the other way round.  Slowly up the hills and quickly down.  The way some runners speak you would think that “hill” was some kind of euphemism for a killing zone and they had to run the gauntlet where trained snipers pick off easy targets.

And so to the finish, for cheers and carrots.  Well done everyone, and see you all at the cross country “recovery run” Grand Prix after Bournemouth Marathon.