Having planned to take a bit of a break this year, I found myself with two weekends off after completing the Winter Fan Dance, and incredibly itchy feet. I sat down on the second Sunday night to book a few races in and get some dates on my calendar when I decided to look at what was available the following weekend. What I found was the Ashford and District 10K, which rang a bell, and I remembered a friend had posted something about running it, a few quick messages later and I had a lift, a race, a place to get showered and a lunch date!
This 10K race has been voted as one of the best 10km runs in the country a couple of time, set in a fairly rural location, described as undulating, with the last section all down hill. The run was an out and back on closed off country roads kicking off at 11am. This would only be my second road race, everything else I’ve done being OCR or trail. Last February I ran my first (and so far only) 10k road race at Kenley and set a time of 56mins. On this race, with the course being hilly and Kenley being flat, I was hoping to at least equal this time.
It was a pretty chilly start, with a biting wind, but eventually we were off over the starting mat. I took off and tried to settle into a pace that I thought I could maintain.
It was a pleasant run along country roads, I felt comfortable running, which is unusual for me in the first few kilometres of a race. The first part of the race was up a manageable hill, before a flat section and then heading down a slightly steeper hill that I couldn’t help but thinking “oh no, I have to run back up this”. The course was well marked with each kilometre clearly signposted.
The running was feeling comfortable as I came up to the turn around point, but as I hit about the 6km point I got a horrendous stitch, I didn’t stop though, that 56mins was in the back of my head, I pushed on but a little slower, and eventually the stitch eased, unfortunatly my relief was short lived and at the 8km mark the stitch came back and lasted the rest of the race.
After cresting the hill and carrying along the flat the 9km sign came into view and I tried to pick up the pace. The final part of the race was all down hill, which allowed me to run a little faster despite the stitch from hell. I finished the race with a clock time of 53.46 and when I got home, I found out my chip time was 52.42. With at least 3mins taken off my Kenley time from the previous year I was pleased with that.
I waited and took myself a finishers photo while I waited for Jac and Tom to finish, then we headed off to warm up, get a shower and go for a well earned Nandos.