I was offered a lift to the Jagermeister 10k which presented an opportunity too good to miss. In truth, I'd had my fill of 10k races having run around the distance too many times just six days earlier. My team captain from the previous week's Thunder Run was the driver and together we made up the only two Grantham runners to compete the tenth anniversary of the Jagermeister race. I have no idea how a German digestif came to sponsor a low key race in Nottingham but it worked very well indeed. Stuart seemed to have more enthusiasm as we drove across to Nottingham at about 5pm on the Friday evening. I viewed the race as something of a continuation of the previous weeks
nightmare endurance event.
The Jagermesiter 10K takes place within the campus of Nottingham University, somewhere behind Queens Medical Centre on the fringe of the City. The campus was pleasantly green with quiet service roads passing through the undulating campus. Adjacent to the modern student buildings is the magnificent white Portland Building which houses the students union. As we ran round a 'warm up' lap of the race course I remarked how the grandeur of the building was somewhat different to the student union that I sometimes frequented some years earlier, in city centre Liverpool.
Stuart and I warmed up by running round a lap of the two and half lap course. It became apparent that the undulations would be the major challenge. Stuart's enthusiasm had continued, as he sprinted up the first hill he recommended that I "power into the hill" during the race. I privately contemplated that I might just try and "survive" the hill during the race. The route around the service roads would eventually head out around a lake which further added to the picturesque campus setting.
The race began at 7pm. I had been lucky to get an entry. I took a chance on entry on the night and was able to pick up the second to last place even though we arrived to register over an hour before the race started. The gun fired and perhaps 200 runners set off up the first undulation. I saw Stuart head of at a pace faster than I could manage. I thought that I would try and keep him in sight but when I hit the top of the first hill he was out of sight at the other side. I didn't see him again until we shook hands at the finish! I ran on feeling a little heavy but soon finding race pace as I ran past the costa coffee shop on the campus (they get everywhere don't they?) The first lap passed uneventfully but I was glad to get out on the second lap with about 6k to run. At the start of the second lap it was good to be encouraged by Mark and Helen also of Grantham AC, who were at road side having decided to come and spectate after a day shopping in the city centre. Part of the race route ran through the courtyard of the Portland building. We had anticipated merry students enjoying a Friday evening drink but I assume the summer vacation has started because other than a wind whipping round the courtyard there was nothing else there.
|A deflated finish photo coutesy of Helen Brown, Grantham AC|
By the second and a half lap I was into a better pace and feeling fairly strong I began to move through the field. My biggest difficulty running 10k which I guess is fairly common is maintaining the intensity of pace and the intensity of breathing that the distance demands, too far to sprint but not long enough to find a coasting pace. The last two k ran from the lake, up a path on to a service road and the incline continued to the finish. I was glad to get back after the challenge of the final incline. I ran under the inflatable finish gantry which had deflated and was being propped up by volunteers. I met Stuart as I walked through the funnel. Stuart had nailed the course in a fast time of 39 minutes and ?? seconds (awaiting results) a big achievement given the exertions of the previous week. I was about three minutes behind.
This was a good value race. For a fee of £12 runners received a technical t-shirt with the text "keep running and party on" emblazoned across the front. In addition racers received a running bottle, cranberry juice, sweets and of course a shot of Jagermeister! Not perhaps the most usual post race drink but I can confirm my shot slipped down a treat...
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING PROMISE - I AM NOW DONE WITH 10K'S (for a bit) AND LOOK FORWARD TO RUNNING LONG AGAIN STARTING WITH THE LONG TOUR OF BRADWELL NEXT WEEK, A NICE, LONG, EASY PACED ROUTE, NO BALLS OUT....