It had been just over 4 weeks since I took part in the Charing 10k and I was definitely ready for another race. My previous knee problems were under control and after a couple of weeks of building up the miles, I felt I’d able to have a good go at the Herne Bay 10k.I signed up a week before the race through the Runners World website with no problems and just needed to turn up on the day to collect my race number and timing chip.
No course information seemed to be available, but the signup detailed HQ as the Herne Bay Sailing Club, just a short distance from the Kings Hall. I arrived in Herne Bay just before 09:30, and although all of the immediate parking spaces were taken, it was easy to find free parking along one of the nearby side roads.
After a short walk I made my way into the Sailing Club building where I was able to collect my race number and timing chip without any delay. Toilets were located in the HQ, which from what I’ve heard is a great improvement on previous years where they had been over 1.5km away from the start line, and the organisers were also running a bag store – essential if you’ve travelled down on your own or without a car. Refreshments we’re available too with a cup of tea, in a real mug no-less, costing just 50p – what a bargain! But there was no time for that so I headed straight down to the start area.
The children’s event was held just prior to the main race over a distance of 1.5km. Great to see the young ones getting involved and everyone got a cheer, from the speedsters finishing first to the younger ones running the last few meters with their parents.
The Main Event
We began congregating at the start/finish line facing towards Recolver. At this point I still had no idea of the course route, and although I had seen a few signs on my warm up run it was a relief for the run director to give an overview of where we were going. We would head out towards Recolver for just over 1.5km at which point we would turn and head back, carrying on along the sea front towards Hampton Pier. It all sounded fairly straight forward, and without much further delay we were off.
Tussling For Position
Unless you’re going for the win and position yourself on the front row, you will inevitably find yourself having a bit of a tussle for position in the first 200 meters or so. In a busy pack of runners there are some faster than you and others slower, but it quickly thins out and hopefully you’re able to get a rhythm going.
I headed out at my planned pace and it wasn’t long before the 1km marker came into sight, but I wasn’t feeling on top form. Sometimes when I start running my legs will feel heavy, as if I’m having to drag them along, but after a short time they’ll usually feel fine. Today wasn’t one of those days though and for some reason or other I couldn’t seem to shake it. This was going to be a tough one!
Looking For The Turn
Now, in my head I’d mapped it out that we were running towards Hampton pier, where we’d be turning to head back down along the sea front towards the finish. With legs that still felt like they had bricks attached, my heart sank as I approached the pier and saw that the course actually ran along Hampton Pier Avenue, looping around the slipway, before returning and heading up the hill of Western Esplanade. In hindsight it was probably best that I didn’t know about this in advance as it may have felt like an impossible mission!
A short grass section after the slipway led back onto the concrete and then up the hill, which was actually shorter than I first thought, and what goes up must come down so I was happy to get a little bit of respite as we headed towards kilometre number eight. By this point I knew I was behind my target pace, but a combination of the downhill section and just having 2km to go spurred me on to find a little bit more speed. I was even able to keep a little back, ready to push it a bit more on hitting the 9km mark. Unfortunately by the time we hit the last 200m there was nothing left for a final sprint but I felt I’d given it my all.
Erm, what was my time?
Unfortunately no visible timer was on display at the finish line, so even if I had been close to my target time, I wouldn’t have known about it on that last stretch. For me this was disappointing, and other than my own personal timing I just had to wait for the official results to be posted up.
I was quite a bit short of my ambitious target time, but I was still happy and came very close to my previous PB. I think I can put it down to my lack of running during the previous month denting my fitness, combined with increasing my mileage the few days prior to the race. On the whole my legs were just a bit too tired. However, I had made it the full distance, had another medal to add to the collection and there were plenty of jaffa cakes and fig rolls to soothe the pain!