It rained on Friday night. Nothing that unusual, but it has been so very dry here for such a long time now that it made us all stand and stare out of the window for a bit when we woke up. The garden heaved a sigh of relief as well. I was happy because this would mean a fresh and cool Peckham 10k on Peckham Rye, so I put my new running shorts back on the shelf, unworn, and pulled on my trusty capris. Being slightly thrown by this alien weather situation, I didn’t bother with sun cream or sunglasses and headed off down the road to catch the bus. Edward said, surprised: ‘Aren’t you cycling?!’ and I promptly said ‘no’, I didn’t know the way and had a feeling it would be all hills, which it was. It was a nice bus ride, seeing glimpses of where I used to live years ago, but the journey seemed to take ages and I arrived at the park all flustered and ran to the registration area to pick up my number.
I would say that this race is on a par with the Parkrun series in terms of casualness and level of organisation – I got a confirmation email from Runner’s World when I registered, then didn’t hear anything until I sent an email asking where the race started and how I might go about collecting my number. I like to have my number pinned firmly to my top before leaving the house so I know that, if I am delayed for any reason, I can just roll up to the start line and run. I was on time and even had enough time to marvel at what people do before a race. There was so much odd stretching, arm swinging and jumping on the spot from the men mostly, while the women mainly stood about conserving energy or folding their arms. Eventually, we were asked to follow a chap across the slippery wet grass, turn around the way we came while he gestured a sort of loop with his hands in the air, then we were off.
This was my first race since Brighton Marathon, so just a test really, to see how I’m holding up. I wanted to finish the 10k in under one hour ideally, so kept my head down and surged up the little hills when they loomed in front of me. The crisp morning weather had been misleading, and I was suddenly very hot, squinting through the bright sun and wishing I had put on some sun cream. This race was made up of three loops and a one-third of a loop section, with some long steady hills and lots of dodging of people meandering around bus stops, leaping over tree roots and ducking under over-hanging branches. It was friendly, with most people being in groups of friends, many of whom wore t-shirts saying ‘God Loves Peckham’, and other religious messages, I hadn’t realised Peckham was the centre of the Christian universe. My pace seemed good, and I did feel it was a bit tough, then remembered I was going a bit faster than usual, so gritted my teeth and found myself overtaking lots of other runners, especially on the hill sections.
There had been water available on the first lap, but I hadn’t taken any because I don’t like drinking during a shorter race, and decided to wait until the end. I really wish I had grabbed some water now and stashed it somewhere near the finish line because, as I collected my medal and t-shirt, I realised there wasn’t a drop of water to be had anywhere. How disappointing on such a hot day, and I didn’t have any money with me to buy anything. The race organisers really do need to sort this out next year, you can’t expect people to pay to enter a race and go home thirsty – I ended up with a thumping headache in the afternoon. Anyway, apart from that, it was a nice race and I got in under one hour.
Time: 57 minutes 54 seconds
Distance: 6.13 miles
Average Pace: 9.27
Best Pace: 5.23
I do have another 10k coming up in a few weeks, the Bupa London 10k, along with a few other running friends. Edward said I should aim for 55 minutes. Hmmmm, now let me see…