In the past I once signed up to a race from the Let’s Do This website. Because of that I receive daily emails with races that I might like to do. More often than not they are based in Lancaster and involve running up and down the cycle path. Not something I’m going to pay money to do. However, a few weeks ago the Walney Island 10km was advertised. I was tempted, and when my lovely wife Helen said that she was up for a day out, I booked it.
Walney Island is also the official starting point of the Bay Cycle Way. We have cycled it, and then emailed our MP to complain about taking bicycles on trains. You can read about it here.
We arrived nice and early, which was fortunate really. Firstly because I directed Helen the wrong way as she drove onto the island, and then because there wasn’t anyone directing people where to park. Helen pulled a U-turn as she spotted a car park at the back of the school. It wasn’t very big and most people seemed to have just dumped their cars on side streets near to the school which was being used as the race HQ.
I went to register, and the volunteer couldn’t find my name, despite holding the envelope containing my number in his hand. I then went to find the toilets. There was one Gents, one Ladies and one disabled, with a long queue. There was also no map at the HQ of where the race went. As there was a 5km at the same time I wanted to know if the 10km was two laps and the 5km one lap. No information anywhere. Thankfully it wasn’t a problem. Many years ago at a race down south, I was chatting to a running club mate who was intently examining the route of a race we were about to do. He told me that because he was highly likely to be near the front, he needed to know where the race went, whereas I would be able to follow everyone else. Speedy runner problems.
Anyway, I avoided the ‘compulsory’ warm up and lined up near the front ready for the off. I shot off too fast, waving at Helen and Nelly as I turned the first corner. There was a lot of people going too fast. While I was running, Helen took Nelly to the beach.
The route turned out to be out and back, with the 5km runners peeling off early. The young lad in first place was incredibly speedy. There also appeared to be more people doing the 5km than the 10km, as when I passed the 5km turn around point, there didn’t seem to be many people in front of me.
At the 4km marker I looked at my watch. It was saying just under 16 minutes. Too fast. I tried to hold on, but each subsequent km seemed to take longer and longer. At 7km my Garmin was saying 7.4km. I was starting to struggle and two runners overtook me in the last couple of kms, and my watch said 10km when the finish line wasn’t in sight.
I crossed the finish line in just over 43 minutes. However, my Garmin said that my 10km time was exactly 41 minutes. That would make it my fastest 10km since 2014. Very happy with that. Helen then helped me back to the car, carrying my finishers medal and t-shirt. My heart rate was in zone 5 for almost the whole race, with a maximum heart rate of 181.
There were a few pros and cons about the race. The pros; not too expensive to enter, nice t-shirt and medal.
The cons; no race parking, not enough toilets (the queues were out of the building twenty minutes before the start), accurately measured course that wasn’t and very expensive photos. Most of the events that I’ve done recently haven’t charged for official photos. I was sent an email with a link. A low-res download only photo was £9. You don’t want to know how much the prints were.
I was incredibly happy with my pace and that fact that I was 10th overall and 2nd Vet 50. However, I wouldn’t do the race again because of the issues I mentioned.
Later that day, Helen cooked a chicken roast while I hobbled about the place. We even saved a small piece of chicken for Nelly. I seriously couldn’t do it without Helen.
Two days later and my legs still feel sore. I’m sure I used to be able to recover better than this!