Sunday 27 November 2011

Race: Movember Battersea Park 5k (2011)

Movember is a month of awareness of men's health issues. Men across the land are invited grow a mo(ustache) in aid of the cause. Unfortunately facial hair isn't one of my stronger points. I trimmed myself on the last day of October and then left the mo to grow - whatever it decided to do during the month of Movember was out of my hands. On the morning of the race I decided that it felt right to go for a side parting to accompany my attempt at a mo.

side parting and mo in place

Me, Mrs7t and the Baba spent the previous night at my parents' house. The sleeping arrangements were not ideal. I slept on the floor on a children's mattress that was, old, springy and only about four feet in length. The mattress stopped at my knees. Somehow I actually had a pretty good nights sleep and woke feeling ready for action. We think the mattress contains some magical properties, as when Matilda has previously slept on it she slept the whole night through. Anyway, as I said, I woke feeling ready for action!!

the baba and the papa

This was the second year running that I had entered this race. I had been looking forward to it for months. I had always had it in mind that it could be a good course to target my first sub-19 5k. But then my hamstring started playing up and slowly I realised that I wouldn't be fit to race.

getting ready to unleash the power of the mo! (btw.. we are not holding hands)

However, all was not lost as this year my friend Terry had entered. If I could not race I could at least do my best to pace him around. He had previously run the Riddlesdown parkrun and had cut his time from 27:31 down to 25:40. The target time was an obvious choice, 24:59 (aka sub-25).

The baba with her nanny

As we were staying in Bermondsey we only had a short drive over to Battersea park, it took around 15 minutes to get there. We easily found a parking space (Note for next year: £2.50 for up to 3 hours), I changed into my Nike Free 3.0 running shoes and we headed across to the bandstand to pick up my race number and timing chip, buy some mo-running sweatbands, and to find Terry!

The park looked stunning with the trees displaying their autumnal colours. There were leaves being blown around by the gusty winds that seemed to randomly spring out of nowhere. It was warmer than at last year's event, the forecast being for partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 13 degrees.

a lovely autumnal day in battersea park

We found Terry, who was wearing his mo with pride! (it was much better than mine, obviously). Just before the start of the race our supporters turned up. From my side I had my two lovely ladies, plus my mum came along with my grandad. Terry's wife, two sons, mum, and their dogs had come to support him.

The mass warm-up then began, I'm not much of a fan of these so I wandered around while it all happened. We then filtered into the start funnel, I checked what time we were aiming for with Terry and 24:59 was confirmed. After a countdown the race was underway.

the families (however, we didn't manage to capture terry's mum on camera)

We set out at a steady pace, which was mostly dictated by the speeds of those around us. The congestion wasn't too bad for our intended pace, and we soon found ourselves at the 1km marker, our time was 5:30, slower than the target but considering the congestion I was happy with it.

There was one point on the course where we found ourselves running into a headwind, not exactly helpful but we soon passed through it. We crossed the 2km marker at 10:40ish.

From here we headed back up towards the start/finish area to complete the first lap. We were really happy when the MC called out our names as we passed the half-way point, we gave a big wave.


With that boost we headed off for lap two. I completely missed the 3km marker so have no idea what our time was at this point. I looked at my watch at the 4km marker, but I can't remember what it said.

The runners had been advised to keep to the left, not many were taking notice of this. At one point an old lady on an equally old bicycle rode past calling out 'keep to the left' - It made me smile.

The final straight is approximately 300 metres in length. As we rounded the corner I checked the watch, to my surprise it said 22:59. We had 2 minutes to run 300 metres, we were surely going to finish ahead of our target time. Then Terry broke into a sprint, I had trouble keeping up with him. But as I drew level with him he announced that he was going to 'see his breakfast again' (or words to that effect). As he veered of to the right to take care of business I continued, but then couldn't bring myself to cross the line without my mo-bro. I moved to the side and stopped, turned around and went back to Terry, firstly to make sure he was ok and secondly to make sure we crossed the line together.

crossing the finish line

Once he had regained his composure we walked towards the finish line before finally breaking into a jog to cross the line.

We collected our medals and reunited ourselves with our supporters.

everyone's a winner!

Our finish times weren't entirely clear at this point, but later in the day the official chip times were put up on the mo-running website. Our times were 25:07 and 25:07. Just outside our target time, but due to the incident we lost, I think, just under a minute. I think it won't be long before Terry is lining up a sub-24 minute 5k.

this shot is madatory....
I was very disappointed to not be racing, but pacing Terry was just as rewarding. The hamstring was ok during the run (I had a good sprint catching up with Terry on the final straight). At the time of writing it still felt ok.

It looks like we'll be lining up a few more mo-runs next Movember, I think the full set would be impossible but we'll see what is on offer and squeeze in what we can!

... and so is this one. (not quite sure what's going on with my expression)

Thanks to all of the supporters that came along, most of the photos here were taken by the wonderful Mrs7t. Thank you!

Terry started a blog about running, I think he'll be writing about the race. run ReNcE run

And lastly...... I've grown quite attached to my mo and chin hair, I think I might keep growing it, maybe this time next year I'll have something to be proud of!


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