The Notts 10 mile race runs round two and a bit laps of Holme Pierrepont National Water
Sports Centre in Nottingham.
|GRC - A Fine Race in the Summer Evening Sunshine.|
The route is more or less two circumferences of a specially constructed water feature which looks like a massive rectangular lake. The reservoir of water stretches for 2000m and is used by national rowing teams and other water sports people. When we arrived at 6pm on a Friday evening the sun was shining brightly on the lake which was being used by swimmers who looked like they were triathlon training. We watched their heads bob up and down as the swam in single file wearing wet suits, it looked exhausting, their bodies looked small yet busy as their arms rotated and their legs kicked set against a mass of water that stretched out as far as the eye could see. I had my own exhausting activity to contend with so I went to warm up with other club members. There was a good turn out of Grantham runners who had also converged near race start. An advantage of this race is that you could enter on the day. A Friday evening race is unusual but the 400 or so runners that lined up at the start was a testimony to the popularity of the event, what better way to let off steam after a tough week at work?
|The Water Feature|
The gun fired at 7pm I had managed to place myself towards the front of the field to ensure a swift start. I had run this race once before possibly five years ago. I remembered my previous Notts 10 being a bit of a grim one, flat but tough in a strong wind. There is an additional mental challenge to running round a water feature where you can see the rest of the route at the other side. If it wasn't for the trees that lined the access road you could probably see all of the route all of the way round. The mental challenge comes from looking across the lake and thinking "oh dear, I have to run right round there and then back here and then do it twice and a bit more!
|Dave Kaye - GRC|
As I emerged back to the path adjacent to the lake after leaving the access road for the first time I could see the front runner and lead car on the opposite side. The first man was motoring and had already established a good lead from second place. I ran on through a gaggle of geese that hissed occasionally and seemed sorry to have their ambiance interrupted so abruptly . After crossing the short part of the rectangle I was back down the other long side of the lake back towards where we had started but on the opposite side. The lake is flanked by loud speakers which no doubt provides a good commentary on rowing days for spectators that line the banks of the lake. The PA system doubled nicely for running race commentary. The whole complex lends itself to a decent running race, the long straight sections mean less marshals are needed and some parts of the course are passed by runners three times meaning only one water station is needed. As I passed closer to the buildings near the start on the opposite side I took interest in the race commentary. It was odd to listen to commentary of a race in which I was running. It seemed, according to the commentator that the first lady was just in front of me, something to aim for on the second lap. I had another target, club mate Dave Kaye was about 30 seconds in front, I'd do well to catch him but it was something else to aim for in the second perimeter.
I was able to keep up a decent pace on the second lap. A gentle breeze took the edge of the heat from the evening sun leaving perfect summer running conditions. There was energy to be released which had been built up after a week sitting at a desk at work. Friday's race was one of those good ones where everything clicked and in contrast to my previous Notts 10 I was enjoying myself. This was one of those early summer evenings that are longed for during bleak mid winter nights.
By mile 8 I could still see Dave Kaye but he was still a similar distance in front it seemed unlikely that I would catch him. There were now perhaps three others between me and Dave. I felt good and I thought that would try and hammer out the last two miles and see who I could pull in. I passed at least two in the final couple of miles and had a good sprint down the last few hundred metres. Each runner received a t-shirt with a terrible joke written on it, something like, "If you're reading this sign and its vertical you have had too much to drink"? After a rest I ambled over to the rowing spectators seating area and sat with other club members. We watched other runners return and we discussed the terrible t-shirt joke. I didn't manage to pull in Dave Kaye who was first GRC home. I ran 1:05 ish. After checking my results archive I notice that I ran the Stockport 10 back in the day in 1:05:24 so this years Notts 10 might just be a pb. I await the official results. Ben Mason used his good form to PB by over a minute and so we went to celebrate in some of Grantham's finest drinking dens.
Since the 100 attempt my foot has continued a good recovery. I've managed to keep up a bit of training and I raced the race described above. The day after the Notts Ten I was surprised to receive a letter in the post from Plymouth Hospital. Apparently the senior radiologist has reviewed my x-ray and thinks that I may have a "very subtle fracture at the base of one of my foot bones". The letter confirms that it will heal itself and no treatment is necessary. There is still a dull deep discomfort at the part that swelled but ten miles at race pace didn't make it any worse, I just hope it will sustain the longer Peak District events that I have planned through the summer.