I am fond of this race having done it many times previously. The weather is normally frosty, and the start is always very chilly. There is something about racecourses (presumably those big open spaces dear?) that makes them far colder that other venues. Sorry for rubbish photo, my phone really isn’t that keen on doing this sort of shot. The blurry lady in pink was just putting on her emergency foil blanket, indoors, at the start.
They have changed the route, start and finish locations this year to make it safer in the traffic (and presumably not further enrage the good burghers of Surrey who feel that they are overburdened with sporting events).
Now the advertising here is sort of intentional. I went to the Runt Olive stand ( I have one of their sponsored race shirts and a man behind me at a race some time ago kept calling me Olive, and I just couldn’t work out why) to buy some of their wares. The lady serving and I got chatting about choice of shoes as she was racing as well as working, and she admitted to having the remains of the Knacker Cracker whining in her legs too. On further investigation it turned out she was one of the three (3!!) who did the proper course, and SHE TURNED BACK TO DO IT. In that weather. Not only was she very nice, she is my heroine for the weekend. Awesome lady.I was a smug little rabbit wearing my Inov8 trail shoes. They are not super tarmac friendly having the cushioning of a beer mat, but the trail sections were mushy, the pavements covered in tree detritus so overall a good decision. Above is one of the more crumbly bits of track (and the jacket I wanted to steal from the lady wearing it).
To orientate yourselves the big orange road on the left is the M25 between J8 & 9. The blue arrow points towards the grandstand (is that what they call them in racing?). Anyway it is a nice place to run.
New route was a big improvement on the old, except for the finish which I hated with a passion. The old finish was one that appeared round a corner and gave you a few tens of metres to do a happy sprint. The new one was down the gravel path (with potholes) and then left on the grass for a bit. I can’t quite describe how dispiriting it was, just too far and too much of a minor uphill gradient after a long down. If they would just move the start back quarter of a mile or so, they could finish on the gravel (or just off it if it is a public-friendliness issue). Full disclosure: I also hate finishes where they make you run round a sports field to get to the end.
As I was undertrained (quelle surprise) I opted for my first ever structured walk-run. I went for 4.30 minutes run, and 30 seconds walk. My reasoning was that a minute is a long time to walk, and 9 minutes is a long time to run if you are struggling. So I cut the usual 9/1 in half. And it was really good. I wasn’t fast, but I was comfortable for all but the last mile (which is normal for me when increasing my long run distance). I would think of doing it again definitely. I kept pace with the same group of people throughout the race and started overtaking towards the end.
And the goodie bag item this year (there is a nice thingy every year: buff, drinks bottle, sandwich bag etc) was a small towel which is just so perfect to keep at work. V happy.