East Grinstead 10k

Posted: October 5, 2015 in Running
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EG 1

A lovely day for a bit of a run

I have a love hate relationship with local races. I like to support them as they are local and usually organised by people I know. The problem is I’m surrounded by a lot of people I know. It’s very hard to remain anonymous in a group of friends and acquaintances. In a big race it’s easy to hide in the crowds and become just another Sunday morning runner, here however that is impossible, I know many of the runners, supporters and most of the marshals too, what’s more they know me and local tradition means that “encouraging” insults must fly, regardless of ability.


The calm before the onslaught of runners clamoring for a number

The start was in the playing field of a local school. We gathered in the centre of the field ready for the start. It was a perfect autumn morning for running about, clear skies but with a nip in the air. It was the sort of weather that starts people talking about personal bests. I try to avoid that conversation as my personal best was an exceptional run and 5 minutes faster than any other time I have achieved in a 10k.

Picking a position at the start is an art. Too far forward and you are making a statement about your intentions of challenging the fast and gifted. Too far back and the first mile will be spent trying to get past people who have been a little too optimistic about their ability and slowed to a more comfortable pace. I found a place that seemed right and indulged in the usual pre start banter of feigning nonchalance whilst knowing that this was a race and I am going to give it my all.


The start had to be kept safe behind a chain link fence

We started with a big loop of the field, designed I think to spread the field out before hitting the narrow path. I was amazed; I’d picked the right spot and was travelling at the same speed as this little cohort. The barracking started before I’d left the field, with a shout of “Don’t peak too early” from one of the spectators followed by “come on now I’ve not got all day” from one of the marshals. I could expect this all the way round.

The course headed out to the Worth Way, an old railway line that had been converted into a path, and down to a turnaround point. I like this as it means I get to see the front runners coming the other way; this can be quite uplifting if this is close to the turn, even better I get to see everyone behind which dispels the negative thoughts of being the slowest runner in the race.

Phones! Who brings a phone to a race? People had them strapped to their arms. Just for an added level of irritation the phone talks to them constantly updating them with speed, distance travelled and for all I know world news. I do wear a watch that buzzes every kilometre, but this is not broadcasting to the world. It does give me the incentive to try and overtake the phone carrier to get out of earshot of the constant stream of vital information.

From the turn it was all slightly up hill for a very long way, not enough to call it a hill, more a slope, but enough to make it hard work. The lady in red had adopted a run walk approach to this section. She would sprint ahead of me clutching a drink bottle and then stop and stand for a while, I would trot past and then a minute later she would come flying past, more of a stand sprint technique, but it was working for her.

The end of the Worth Way came and along with it some quality banter “I’ve not dragged myself out of bed early on a Sunday morning to watch you shamble along, get a move on, I want to be home by nightfall!”

Eventually the crest of the hill came and it was down slope on pavements toward the finish, this was so much better. The end of the race is a little crewel; you have to run past the finish and onto a one kilometre loop, you can see the finish but know that there is still more effort to put in before it’s a reality. The marshal on the corner was counting our positions, that is how I know I lost 4 places in the last kilometre. I don’t do strong finishes.

The nice thing about a local race is that at the end I am surrounded by people I know, all of whom have shared the experience and all of whom are happy to listen to my inane witterings.


Another T-Shirt for the collection

Yes it was a good day.


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