So, I booked this race as a birthday present for a good friend of mine who was moaning she hadn’t done much running since Blaydon, her response “what kind of a friend buys you pain for a present!.” As it happens she was ill & so another friend stepped into her shoes – Gill only started running a few months ago & her furthest run so far was 7 miles so this was a challenge for her 1st ever race. We set off with a couple of friends in tow as cheerleaders, everyone I’d mentioned this race to had a wry smile & murmured something about hills so I was slightly nervous. I also felt quite underprepared having done little running since GNR, but anyway – a sunny day, child-free with good friends lay ahead. Not many Striders signed up to this one so it was a pleasant surprise to bump into John Hutchinson & Jackie McKenna in the car park (they also mentioned the hills!) Got our race numbers, tried on some trail shoes, sat in the sun & then wandered down to the start in the park next to the river. All the other runners looked a bit professional so I did think this might be the race that I actually did finish last.
We were off – Jon Ayres running past me at the start wishing me luck. I ran with my friend for the 1st mile or so, there were a couple of narrow single file points, then we separated & the hills started. It was hot & there definitely were hills – should’ve had a camera placed at the little bridge at about 7 or 8k to capture the looks on faces as we came down out of the tree-lined road to see a pretty little bridge & a mahoosive steep long hill after it!
My Garmin failed to find a satellite at the start so I didn’t have much idea of my distance or pace. The race was mainly on roads with some traffic so there was a bit of on/off pavements, there were some little loops into the local neighbourhood where it was lovely to see plenty of support from residents & children. The water halfway (at the top of a hill) was very welcome. Richmond is a very beautiful area, lovely streets & walls, tree-lined roads, hills, pretty bridges & views of the Castle & river.
The last push up to the castle up a long hill, on cobbled streets would’ve been hard had it not been for the amazing support – loads of people lined the Market square clapping & shouting which was fab & kept me from walking, the finish was lovely just through the castle gates (thanks to English Heritage) & the memento of running socks was great!
So, not a PB but a fantastic day out – finished a bit beetroot faced thanks to the hot & sunny October weather & headed off to sit outside the restaurant we’d booked in the sunshine to enjoy a nice lunch – bumping into the family Ayres at the same restaurant! My friend Gill was absolutely over the moon that she’d finished her 1st race, in a very respectable time & can’t wait for the next one!
PS. Did I mention there were a couple of undulations on this run?