Race Report by Helen Rowe
Derby 10 (will it be never again?)
It was an early start. 5 of us were travelling to Derby together, and I had to be at Cal’s by 7.45am. I parked in Cal’a allotted parking space, behind her house. It took me about 8 attempts to be satisfied with my positioning. For some reason I kept veering left! As usual, I seemed to have more bags than anyone else: spare warm clothes in case I got soaked; spare shoes so we didn’t dirty Sharon’s new car on the way home; my coolbag containing recovery drink, energy drink, and bananas; my Massey bag, with everything from plasters, a towel, Imodium, hand sanitiser, insect repellent, insect bite pen, hat, poncho, plastic bags, running belt, electrolyte drink, phone, pins, pens, money etc. #beprepared – I think that being a girl guide has had a big effect on me!
It was a miserable day weather-wise. It rained the whole way to Pride Park. We discussed the weather on route – and whether it was going to rain during the run. Views were mixed. It seemed there were as many different weather forecasts as there were passengers in the car! We arrived nice and early, so we were able to park right next to The Arena thankfully.
We collected our numbers (from a tent outside) and then congregated inside the Arena with other Massey runners. There was no point going outside in the cold and rain until we had to. The bag drop was also outside, at a lorry. We queued up one more time to use the facilities before heading outside. It was raining quite heavily, so we sheltered for as long as we could, before heading for the pens. The pens were organised by numbers, and the organisers asked that we go into the correct pen for our number. Some parts of the route were going to be narrow, with two way runners, so the field needed to be thinned out as quickly as possible. The organisers had done an incredible job working with local agencies to put the race on. We were running contingency route 6. They had done their very best to still deliver a 10 mile race, and not disappoint all the runners who had signed up.
I positioned myself at the back, in pen 9. Massey Ferguson got a shout out by the commentator, as did Northbrook. I chatted to a couple of Smalley Road Runners who were close by. It was drizzling, but at least not heavy rain. The route took us around Pride Park, then on an out and back path, though an industrial park, and along the river (which was very high – in fact it was higher than us at one stretch), and along a very busy main road/by-pass, to another turn around point. The normal route takes runners off to Elvaston Castle Grounds, and takes a more scenic route back into Derby, but due to flooding, we had to go back along the by-pass. The benefit of an out and back for me is seeing lots of runners I know, and exchanging words of encouragement. There were lots of Northbrook runners, a few Sphinx runners, and of course the Massey runners. The lady in front of me asked if I knew everybody as I exchanged pleasantries with so many runners.
Most of the route was tarmac, but there were a few off-road sections, which were muddy and wet in places. The marshals were brilliant, and very friendly. I always make a point of thanking them for being there. Without them these races would not be possible.
At mile 9 I started to get cramp in my left calf. I hadn’t drunk my electrolyte drink. Instead I had been drinking the Lucozade energy drink I had taken with me. The cramp slowed me down considerably as I had to walk a lot more. Marshals and spectators were encouraging me to run, as I was so close to the finish. I was pleased when I knew I just had a few more yards/metres left. I wasn’t expecting a welcoming committee, as it was cold and damp, but Cal was there cheering me in. At the finish line we were given a medal, a technical t-shirt, and a tiny bag of jelly beans, sponsored by Western Power Distribution. I collected my bag, and we made our way into the Arena, to Café 42, to join the rest of the Massey runners (apart from James and Alison who had had to leave).
Then it was time to head home. We changed our shoes before getting in the car, so as not to muddy Sharon’s new car. I was dropped off at Cal’s, where I collected my car keys, and then put all my worldly goods in my boot, and then headed home for a nice hot bath.
It hadn’t been the most exciting race I had done. I had chatted to a few other runners from other clubs – the couple from Smalley Road Runners who finished just ahead of me; a lady from Grantham Running Club, who also finished a little ahead of me. The stretch along the by-pass had seemed to go on forever. However, I had liked seeing the runners going the other way. I think maybe I need to do it again, to experience the normal more scenic route.