13th October 2013
A 7 am start from London got us to Henley at about 8.20 in time to park without any hassle. It is not a good idea to leave this run too late as the traffic really builds up. The summer weather has faded away and cool drizzle was the order of the day. Gareth and Laura from the world famous “South Dock Running Club” (established 2013) were to join me and John. John’s friend Rob and Tim were running too. The run is like a butterfly with two loops of about equal length. One is used for the 10 K race which kicks off a few minutes before the half. There didn’t seem to be many runners but there were over 1,200 finishers so it wasn’t exactly empty. Funnily this race seems to suit me although I don’t like roads and I do like hills. The first few miles felt very smooth and effortless. I just tucked in behind someone who I felt was running at a steady pace and enjoyed the scenery. It seemed that I was going quite fast despite aiming for a negative split. On returning over Henley Bridge there are a couple more flat road miles before swinging left up a 1.7 mile hill climb. It is a pretty gentle slope but it normally catches some of those who ran too fast at the beginning and I went past several people walking. Hills are my favourite so I mouched past about 15 runners on the way up before it flattens off and eventually turns hard leftdown a steep hill. At this point I stupidly thought I was going fast. I had a slight muscle pain in my right leg so decided to nurse it a bit with a marginally slower pace. Just before the Fair Mile I tripped on a pothole and twisted my ankle heavily but continued running. I really felt I was in for a personal best as I continued to overtake runners down the Fair Mile and put on a full sprint around the rugby club.
Sadly despite my feeling of comfortable speed it was a rubbish time of 1 hour 50 minutes 22 seconds. That was about three minutes slower than the previous year. Must try harder.
We all met up, scoffed a few snack bars from the Lidl Goodie Bag (thanks Lidl) and went for our cars to head up to Gordon’s house. Gordon had invited us all for a barbeque and kept his word despite the awful weather. Warmed up after a much needed shower we were fed, and fed, and fed until we hit the 1,400 calories we had burned on the race. Then we ate a bit more just in case. Finally we relaxed, after a bit of technology struggle, to watch a video of the Northern Lights.
Now that brings us neatly onto our next adventure. Russia here we come!
Thanks to Henley Rotary and all their volunteers who stood cheerily in the rain to make another great run and thanks to Gordon and Josie for looking after us so well afterwards.