Stuart Mugridge reports: For the second year in a row I found myself on the start line of this well-organised and friendly event for all ages and abilities. Same form as last year – Easter egg hunting with mummy and grandma entertained the children while daddy nipped off for a race.
This year the field had been extended to 550 but I think the cold weather kept a fair few folk away as only 438 finished. It was freezing, mostly overcast and with the odd pathetic attempt at snow or hail before the off. Needless to say there weren’t many of us in just shorts and a vest – I even forewent gloves and hat and was regretting it a bit at the start.
As last year there was a kilometre out and back to Whitlingham Broad before two laps of a 4k circuit. I felt a little nervous in the lead up to the race as a bit of a cold, several nights of children-induced fatigue and the realisation that this was the first time I had done the same race twice had left me a little hollow – I had all to lose (must book that sports psychology appointment!).
Despite my pessimism I edged my way a bit nearer to the front than I normally do and found it quite comfortable as we set off. I didn’t get carried away though and waited for the pack to sort itself out through the first kilometre and then settled into a good pace. Although wearing a GPS watch I decided not to give myself time checks and to just run on feel.
And it felt good. My head and body felt calm, I never panicked and just kept plugging away. Passing through the finish area for the second time (of three) there was a shout of ‘come on Bournville’ – as much out of surprise as anything else it really spurred me on (thank you!). The little hill was a bit harder the second time but I paced myself well and enjoyed the drop down the other side with the kilometres seeming to count down quickly.
I upped things a little going into the last k and glanced across the ‘U’ of the finish area to see that my time was good and ran even harder. I stopped the clock at 41:36 for 54th place – I’d beaten last year’s time and my pb by almost a minute. Very pleased with that, and now looking forward to pencilling in a few more races to see if I can crack 40mins.
The event was won for the fourth year in a row by Nick Earl (CONAC) in 33:39 (over a minute slower than in 2012… does that make my performance even better?!) with first female Sian Khan (Birchfield Harriers) crossing the line in 37:14.
Race website: http://www.conac.org.uk/races/trowse.asp