Leonie Clitherow reports on the Lichfield 10k: September 8th 2013

Lichfield 10k: September 8th 2013

I’m sure there are many ways to tackle jet-lag. I’m not entirely convinced entering a race 4 days after returning from a transatlantic flight is the most advisable, but then I’d hate to do something sensible. So after a summer of [holidaying] research in Alaska where I barely managed any running due to too much time spent [fishing] researching and the fact that in a remote ‘bush community’ there was only one road, which was very straight and very boring, I survived the 400m reps training on Thursday (thank you Aine for running with me!) and decided that maybe entering a 10K race wasn’t entirely stupid.

The race started at the civilised time of 10:30am at the leisure centre. The start was well signposted from some way out of Lichfield, which is useful if you don’t have a sat nav and you’re hopeless at navigation. Starting positions behind the line were marked by estimated time and there seemed to be plenty of room for the over 1000 runners to huddle together to listen to the unintelligible pre-race briefing. After a quick count down we were off. Thankfully the start was downhill, which was a lifesaver for my protesting legs. I glanced at my Garmin watch and found that I zoomed through the first mile in some ridiculous sub-8 minute mile pace and I struggled to slow my legs down to a more sedate, race-finishing pace. The course took us away from Lichfield itself along undulating roads (correct use of this word, the race was neither hilly nor flat) before turning back and returning to the leisure centre. The roads had been entirely closed for us runners, making the running pleasant and quiet (except for the man wearing flip flops who I am embarrassed to say overtook me).

Kilometre distances were well marked and for a change actually appeared to be accurate. A nice touch mid route for those non-watch wearing people was a timer, which showed me to have done the first 5km in a surprising 25 minutes. Despite jet-lag induced lack of sleep I felt pretty good for the first half of the race, but found my pace dropping off after half way, with one slightly longer uphill ‘undulation’ proving a bit of an effort. No walking though and I managed to plod along through a few residential streets, where a number of people had turned out to cheer us on, before turning the corner and into the finish field. I attempted a small burst of speed to try and beat 53 minutes on the gun-time clock, but couldn’t quite dredge up the energy.

There were no goody bags to greet us at the end, but there were tables piled high with bananas and bottles of water, so an environmentally friendly thumbs up to the organisers for cutting down on unnecessary plastic! The race t-shirts were a rather nice shade of orange and even fitted reasonably well…bonus! All in all, a nice race route, and a well organised event. It was a shame the route didn’t go through the attractive town centre, but then I enjoyed running along roads completely closed to traffic and it would have been a lot more disruptive to close the whole town centre. Without jet-lag and maybe if I actually did some training this race might have had some PB potential owing to the relative flatness (with just enough hills to keep things interesting); I’d recommend it!

BvH results (chip times)

Simon Goodwin (44:26)

Stephen Doswell (50:40)

Tony Mills (51:25)

Leonie Clitherow (52.55)