Race Report by Paul Curtis
As Di will testify, reading literature is not my thing having only read one fiction book in my life. Nevertheless, I thought I’d give this writing a race report thing a bash… and after reading Claire’s recent “Sicky banana burps” and “small bag of wee” insights in her last two race reports I thought “Well, how hard can it be?”
After a less than successful (non-existent) first marathon I thought “Why waste the hours of training?” and felt I needed to get back to working on pace and enter some races. I stumbled across a 10k evening race at Kingsbury Water Park. With the organiser’s website looking like something made using an early 90s Word template, I wasn’t expecting much at all, but signed up anyway… Well it’s flat round there, right? It’s got to have PB potential, right?
Before Di got home from work, I had a pre-race snack. Knowing I wouldn’t have anything else to eat until much later I went for protein rather than carbs to keep me fuller. Banana and yoghurt… what was I thinking? That nearly had its second coming part way around the second lap.
We headed off to Kingsbury. Di with her normal pre-race mantra of “It’s only a training run” then “I’ll go off too bloody quickly again” and me convinced the PB was already in the bag.
We got to Kingsbury in plenty of time. Picked up our race numbers and gathered with the rest of the Masseys. We waited for Fiona to get her race number then Helen corralled everyone together for a Massey Massive photo. I was happy to miss out of the snap and take the photo, but Emma told me in no uncertain terms that wasn’t going to happen. She cajoled an unwitting member from another club to take a few photos on my phone. After taking a few pics the photographer passed the phone back to Helen who then passed it back to me… not before snapping a super close-up of Helen’s “chest area”.
After a quick warm up we all wandered across to the start area. The race director gave us our race instructions and an apology as they didn’t think they had nearly enough medals due having a lot of people sign up in the last week or so. — 3-2-1 and the hooter sounded to begin our two laps around Kingsbury.
It was a narrow and congested start. The woman directly in front of me started running. She got about 30 metres in and decided that was the time she didn’t need her jacket any more. She obviously had never heard – Perfect Planning Prevents P*ss Poor Performance! I moved my way around her and despite knowing negative splitting a race is the way to go and having successfully ran negative splits in my last few races the lure of a PB somehow got the better of me. I saw Pete Paprcka only 5 or 10 metres ahead and thought “If I can hang onto his coattails…” What was I thinking? Yep, I started off too quickly… back to my old bad habits.
After a short section on the grass it was on to the paths. Pace was still quicker than my pre-race plan, but I felt OK so cracked on. We soon approached a tight hairpin bend and a short paved section before hitting the grass again. Still feeling OK. After another left hand bend I looked up. Apparently, there are hills at the back of Kingsbury Water Park, three of them, which, even with limited oxygen intake I worked out turned into six on a two-lap course. Great !!!
After going from grass to path and back we were then on familiar paths, if you’re a veteran on Kingsbury parkrun. Generally, the paved sections were quick, the grassy parts were about 20 secs per km slower. Lap one done. Let’s go around again.
I still had Pete in my sights, although by now I needed binoculars. Round the bend and through the hilly bit again. Then, uh oh!!! My earlier poor choice of banana and yoghurt pre-race snack. I had a quick look behind me and I had a clear 30 metres on the next runner. I thought “I need to expel some air. I’ve got time, should the unthinkable happen, to quickly puke in the bushes before they get to me”. Luckily after a few controlled burps the discomfort subsided.
By now we had 2.5k to go and my earlier, quicker than expected, start was beginning to bite. I latched on to a Peel Roadrunner and gritted my teeth. Across more grass and paths a right turn and there was the finish line. The time on the race clock must have been wrong. I had about 1 min 50 in the bag to beat my 10k PB and about 80 metres to go.
Already at the finish were Dave Lee and Pete. We cheered the other Masseys over the line. All making good time on what was a tough, hilly in sections, multi-terrain course.
All back to the café for a coffee and cake to watch the presentation. Loads of prizes. Age category prizes and overalls. Turns out I have 20 years to train hard and knock 6 minutes off my time to win the over 60s prize.
Definitely a race I’d do again. A rubbish website and an “off the peg” medal but how well organised, cheap and friendly.