Not quite a race ….. by Helen Rowe
I have been training with Sally Slevin on Sunday mornings for a few weeks. If I am not in a race, I go to the gym to do 5k on the bike, followed by weight training, and then I meet Sally at the Excel Centre. We have been running around Warwick Uni campus, doing hill training, running between 3-5 miles each week. This week Cal Oddy joined us, and Sally said she had a different route for us to do, to make it more interesting. She said it would be about 4 miles.
It started raining as soon as I parked. So I got my waterproof out, and offered my spare, which Sally accepted. We left Excel, and the first person we saw was Dave Goodwin on a training run. We started jogging to Westwood Heath Road. The idea was to run up Westwood Heath Road at our own pace, to the junction with Cromwell Lane. At the junction, we turned left, and ran along Cromwell Lane, to Red Lane. We passed a house with old fashioned gypsy caravans in the drive, and also Hickory’s on the other side of the road (so that’s where it is).
We passed an entrance to the greenway – but we weren’t taking that route. Cal and I didn’t really know where we were going – we were just following Sally’s instructions. Every time we stopped at a junction to wait for Sally, she would tell us about her run routes when she was training for a marathon. She kept telling us that the road back to Westwood Heath was just around the next bend – but it never was.
I was keeping tabs on distance on my TomTom watch. We ran down Red Lane – I loved being able to practise my longer strides downhill. There was still no sign of this turning on the left. We were soon at the junction with Birmingham Road. We had left Burton Green, and were now in Kenilworth. We started wondering if we needed to ask someone for directions. Then Cal said that Beehive Hill was not far away, so we headed for there. We ran up the hill, and down the other side. Eventually we came to a left hand turn – Hollis Lane. We ran along there, out into the country again until we got to Crackley Lane. Thankfully Cal knew where we were, and we headed left, along Crackley Lane, under the railway arch and the greenway. A group of lady cyclists came past us under the railway arch, and urged us not to stop. If only we could, I thought! Onwards we ran. We passed a lane on the left that Sally thought we should take, but Cal and I said ‘no’ because it was a dead-end. Onwards we ran. Cal’s watch had reset itself at one point, so we were relying on my watch to know how far we had run. None of us had a phone to check a map. Eventually we could see a main road crossing the end of Crackley Lane. When we got there, we raised a cheer, as we knew exactly where we were – opposite Cable and Wireless on Westwood Heath Road. We had run 7.5 miles – but the end was now close. We ran down to dog alley. Cal spotted a child’s scooter I had spotted on the way up Westwood Heath Road, and she decided to ride it – until I pointed out that the child may come back for it! So she put it back. Onwards we ran. We were now doing part of the first summer handicap race in reverse. I preferred it this way round!
By the time we got back to the Excel Centre, we had run just under 9 miles! We had enjoyed the route, and I saw bits of Warwickshire I had never seen before. But next time Sally suggests a 4 mile training run, I shall be warned!