Race report by Helen Rowe
I had heard reports about the Badgers 10k. It is very hilly they said. I decided it wasn’t for me. Then some weeks ago, when Cal, Sally and I were out running, Cal asked if either of us were doing it. Sally said she wasn’t, as she had a family event on that weekend. I said I wasn’t either, because it was too hilly. Cal was disappointed, as she had already signed up, and was hoping one of us would have done too. She said she might pull out in that case. I felt guilty – so I decided to sign up to do it with her – not that we do run together (she is faster than me).
The weather forecast was that it was going to be a record August Bank Holiday weekend – with temperatures at approx 29 degrees. Great – just what runners need! Race Day arrived, and I picked up Cal Oddy and James Padvis en route, and we arrived in Atherstone at approx 8.45am. It was free parking – what a bonus. We made our way to the Memorial Hall, to collect our numbers. There were a couple of Massey runners there already. More and more Massey runners started to arrive, and after the obligatory visit to the loo, we congregated outside, and had a few photos, some with the Badger. Then it was time to make our way to the start line, which was in the main street.
There were lots of supporters out to cheer us on our way. We had another Massey photo (but as usual not everyone was in it), and we settled into our starting positions. I had a sudden attack of nerves, and had a mini meltdown, suddenly thinking “what am I doing here – it is going to be very hilly”. Both Brenda Lee and Alison Clark managed to calm my nerves, and then the hooter sounded, and we were off. I took it really steady, and taking advice from Brenda the week before at Park Run, I concentrated on getting my breathing settled into a good rhythm – and letting my legs and feet do their own thing. At the 1k marker, I joked with the spectators – “well that’s one down and nine to go”. Sorting out my breathing early worked, and I was able to run up Coleshill Road, remembering my hill training, and pumping my arms to help get me up.
They had said the route was scenic, and it certainly was. It was lovely having the shade of the trees for parts of it, as it was much easier to run when it was slightly cooler. We ran through the private estate of Merevale Hall, which is rarely open to the public. It was stunning. One section was a cross over on the almost figure of eight route – and as I ran past the 3k marker, runners were passing me who were running past their 7k marker just ahead. There was a small group of faster runners who took a wrong turn at the top of the section, and we had to call them back to run the other way. That put a few seconds on their time!
The route was definitely undulating, and I did have to walk some sections of the uphill route, but I can honestly say I really enjoyed the downhill sections – again I was remembering my training, and extending my strides.
On the way out of the estate, there was one section that was quite flat, and I should probably have run that section, but I was enjoying the views across Leicestershire so much, I didn’t want to miss it.
As I headed back into Atherstone town, I could see runners who had finished heading for home. I always find the last 1k of a 10k race to be the hardest – it seems the longest, but the support we received from the residents of Atherstone was amazing. They were cheering and clapping, and really encouraging me as I headed up the high street, and for the finish line. I managed to find a last spurt of energy for a sprint finish, and then collected my medal, a bottle of water, two pieces of fruit, a goody bag, and a t-shirt, and then joined my team mates.
We all stood around in Market Square, waiting for the announcements of the winners to be made. Graham Paton and Sam Lowe were both winners in their age categories. We were hoping we were in with a chance of winning the most represented team, but we were pipped at the post by Bournville Harriers – 21:19.
Prizes awarded, we started to disperse, and some of us headed off to The Old Bakery for a bite to eat, and a drink. It had been a very hot, sticky and hilly 10k – but one I would definitely do again.
Another not quite a race report …
Written by Helen Rowe
August Bank Holiday Monday – the day after Badgers 10k. Sally Slevin had asked Cal Oddy and myself if we wanted a gentle training session, bearing in mind Cal and I had run Badgers the day before. We said ‘yes’. We arranged to meet at the Excel Centre at 1000 hours. Sally said she had a surprise for us.
We set off along Mitchell Avenue, along Westwood Way, and down Kirby Corner Road, where Sally took us to see the track, and where Godiva Harriers meet. Then we headed down Kirby Corner Road, towards Cannon Park. We stopped to use the facilities, and then headed to the lane that runs behind the back car park, into Ivy Farm Lane, onto Cannon Hill Road, and out onto the A45. We ran up the highway, to Kenilworth Road, across at the lights, along Kenilworth Road, down Coat of Arms Bridge Road, under the railway bridge, left into Armorial Road, up to Leamington Road, into the park, up to the memorial, out to the outer path, stopping to use the facilities again, then following the outer path towards the car park. On the way, we decided to try out some of the “obstacles” like the A frame and the balancing bars (practice for our Wolf Run next year – another story). Then we headed out onto Kenilworth Road, down Canley Ford, out at the Esso Garage. We crossed at the lights, and ran into Cannon Hill Road, a wrong turn into Jacobs Close, then into Ivy Farm Lane, and along the lane to the car park at the back of Tesco.
Then we ran down William Lyons Road. Sally said “trust me, I know where we are going.” We ran through the Science Park, and past the sign for the footpath to Westwood. Sally said “trust me, I know where I am going.” She told us all about the Godiva 5, and the route it used to take (where we were running basically). There was building work going on, which blocked our route – so we skirted round a building, and through some bushes. Sally kept saying “trust me, I know where I am going.” We headed for the hedge, but found a gate out to the road – which was locked. We went through more bushes, and found an open gate – but that only took us to a long alley with fences on both sides, and locked gates at each end, so we headed back. Sally was so apologetic. It seemed they had erected fences since Sally had last run through there (probably to stop the likes of us)!
We eventually made our way back to the sign for the footpath to Westwood, and headed out onto Kirby Corner Road, and back to the Excel Centre. By the time we got there we had done exactly 8 miles! A nice easy training run after our 10k the day before!