Today’s club session was somewhat different – it was the home leg of our local club challenge between Witney and Eynsham Road Runners. All I knew was that the course was 4.6 miles and it started at the rugby club.
It was another lovely evening although probably a bit warmer than I’d like for a race but we all had the same conditions.
The rules were simple: the times of each runner for each club would be added up until the first club ran out of runners. The club with the smallest total time would win the leg. So, run as fast as you can!
I started keenly and counted up the number of white versus blue vests in front of me and tried to track whether there were more Witney or Eynsham in front of me. I’m not entirely sure why but it added a little distraction.
It’s strange being in a race where everyone counts and you fall on one team or the other. It meant that as footsteps approached from behind you weren’t sure if they would mean you could relax or if they meant you need to pick up the pace.
I tried my best not to turn around as it would only mess with my form and rhythm. I also tried my best to stick on as many shoulders as i could, whether they were friend or foe.
There were a couple of nasty hills towards the end of the course and whilst I couldn’t stick with one Eynsham runner I managed to power up the first hill, leaving a second Eynsham runner behind only to hear closing footsteps on the second hill. I was relieved to see the white of Witney pass me and allowed myself a glance behind to see a bit of free air. The final few hundred metres were flat with only a hard turn just before the finish to navigate.
I was pleased with my time of sub 33 minutes, pleased with the first 2 kilometres at 4:03 pace and astounded to see my 5k split of 21:06! That’s 16 seconds inside my parkrun PB – albeit with a decent downhill included.
The two hills took their toll on my pace but I’m happy that I kept myself going, especially on the second hill which is a rough track.
After catching my breath it was a chance to applaud the other runners home before grabbing a drink at the bar and demolishing a delicious BBQ. It was nice to have a bit more chance to have more of a chat with more people. I’m starting to really feel like part of the club and that feels good!
The evening closed with a raffle. I’m pleased to say that I managed to pick up a prize – a triple pack of Jaffa Cakes. One of my favourites!