The Pensford 10k

Another week, another race, this time the Pensford 10k event, but lets take a little step back first.

At the beginning of my ‘racing’ (very loose term for official events) calendar selection I had the aim of adding at least one, preferably two events per month to ensure that the pressure to line up against others kept me honest and provided the motivation to get my backside off the couch and training. When the event is close by and offers an “undulating, and seldom flat course” with a nice 50m and 100m steep climb in the middle, it is worth a try, and try I did.

Race day I lined up with nearly 200 other people, but amongst the normal pre-race banter I was hearing whispers from the more experienced runners: ‘it only gets going around the 5k mark, watch out’, and ‘the hill in the middle is a killer’. With this in mind, I moved myself from the 40min+ starting group to the 50min+ group all whilst I was wondering what I had gotten myself in to.

I set off at a slow but steady pace, trying to conserve energy for ‘the hills’ although at this point I was overtaking people in the faster group which had me a little worried. Despite a few hills the first 5k was fine, up, down, up, down, and up again but rather doable. Then the 5k marker appeared and right on cue, the hill that was the focus of many a conversation at the start of the race.

Now, a 100m climb sounds rather small, and on paper it is, but when you are trying for a good race time, with tired legs, a dislocated shoulder (did I mention that?) and enjoying the best the South West has to offer you in terms of windy, cold weather, the start of this tiny little hill was not welcome. I’d set my Garmin watch to alert me when I was slower than an 8:30 pace thinking me and the beep were never going to meet but unfortunately the slow beep was my unwelcome companion the whole time I climbed this section.

Despite a slow time (51:27) I really did enjoy it. I am confident I could knock a large chunk of time off that next time, in good health, and with next year being the 30th anniversary of the race, I think I will be back to prove that.

Next on the agenda, the Keynsham 10 miler but I am sorely tempted to add the Bath Ultra Marathon in September to the list, after all, I’m still looking for races.