Sunday 18 December 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun episode 25 (RDp25)

24 hours before the 25th Riddlesdown parkrun, the downs were covered in a light dusting of snow. This had put the event in jeopardy - if the road leading to the downs is closed an ambulance would not be able to gain access in the event of an emergency.

Friday - Warlingham School (Photo: Nicki Clark)

After a few course inspections and a close eye on the state of the road the decision was made that the event could go ahead.

We arrived at the downs to find that the snow had mostly disappeared. This had left behind some fairly large puddles and muddy patches, but in other places the ground was frosty and solid.

Today's first glimpse of the downs (Photo: Pete Gibson)

On photographer duty today were Nicki and Pete, who took some awesome photos. Thanks for letting me use them.. again!

On the way to the start line we saw what we were in for (Photo: Pete Gibson)

Thirty-nine participants lined up at the start line. The temperature was one degree above freezing and the wind was negligible. I felt fit enough to attempt another tempo-ish kind of run. While Mrs7t decided that it would be nice to take Matilda on a walking tour of the course (albeit at quite a fearsome pace).

At Condon Corner during the first lap (Photo: Pete Gibson)

I set off and slowly meandered through the field of runners and by the 1 mile point found myself knocking on the door of the top ten. I continued to pass runners until about half-way, where I found myself settling into what would end up being my finishing position.

The Trail Section (photo: 7t)

Just after the three kilometre point I spotted some of the regular dog walkers on the downs. They have three German shepherd dogs which are usually quite oblivious to the runners whizzing past. Today one of them got a tiny bit excited as I passed and decided to follow me. Inside I felt quite scared and I was preparing myself for it to make some kind of contact with me. Its owner called it a few times but it ignored the calls. Then the owner raised his voice to the dog, this time it took notice and returned to him. I was so relieved that it had done so. Then I disappeared through the hole in the hedge and put the incident to the back of my mind.

The trail section - not one of the large puddles (photo: 7t)

I was now behind Graeme. I wondered if I had enough in me to catch and overtake him. The last few months of reduced training have taken their toll on my fitness. In the end I didn't have enough in me to catch him. So I accepted the position I was in and cruised along to the finish.

In seventh position, a few seconds behind Graeme (Photo: Pete Gibson)

After a brief pitstop (firstly to catch my breath, then to have my barcode scanned) I headed off to find Mrs7t and Matilda. I caught up with them just as they had reached the 3km point. I accompanied them round, almost until the finish. As we neared the finish line Matilda managed the shed one of her wellies without us knowing, meaning I had to re-trace our steps to find it while the ladies went on the complete the course!

The ladies (Photo: Nicki Clark)

After the race we went the Good Companions pub for coffee. We stayed until just after half past one. Then we jumped in the car and drove very far.... all the way to Tonbridge..... ja?

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