October 24th 2017
Having done the equivalent race in March, it was off to Calne celebrate the clocks going back in October. Five of us squeezed into Helen’s car for the trip up there, and we arrived in good time. Race HQ was the sports hall at the leisure centre, and this time they had a stall offering tea, coffee and some rather nice looking Danish pastries. I spent a while debating the merits of a pre-race sugar rush, but in the end opted against it and just went for a cuppa.
In the queue I got chatting to Robin-Mark from AVR, who had taken up running some time ago. He had recently had a health scare with a brain tumour and was forced to run wearing a helmet. He then organised the Hilly Helmet Challenge to help raise funds. He asked if maybe some of us would like to go over to support this year’s race. His story is quite amazing – check it out here
I picked up my bib to find I’d been given the number 4, beating my previous PB from Grittleton by 2. Maybe I’ll get to wear 1 one day – but only if @abelj isn’t taking part. After that, it was out to enjoy the Samba band, who seemed to be working from the same track list as they had in March, but I didn’t spot the Morris dancer this time. I wonder if they’d fallen out due to musical differences.
As we waited for the start, Avon Valley lined up for a group photo just in front of us. Nick and I had a brief discussion as to whether we should photo-bomb their picture, but decided against it. Well, I did, but evidently Nick couldn’t resist, even if he was a little shy.
The first few hundred meters were around the playing field and I was soon out of breath. A quick chat with Rich indicated he wasn’t comfortable either – it seems running over grass is a bit more tiring than it appears.
Back on the tarmac, it was heading down the hill, through the housing estate and out into the country. I pulled alongside Nick just in time for the camera. It looks easy doesn’t it? But then, that’s only after 2km – it may have looked a bit different on the way back.
The race route is an out-and-back with a small loop at the end. After 4km we met the leaders coming the other way. The first guy was going like a train and had a huge lead over the rest. How do people run that quickly?
After 8km I caught Andrew from AVR. We had a brief exchange of pleasantries but I was having a better day than him so decided to press on and keep going hard for the last 2km. This time it was my turn to get overtaken by AVR runners going down the home straight. I’m beginning to recognise a few other faces – I guess it’s inevitable if we’re all running roughly the same times at the same races. Given that our vest does stand out from the crowd, I guess they’re beginning to recognise us too. Must try to say hi next year.
One nice touch was Frome Running Club congregating on the last bend. About 20 of them were stood there cheering people in, and not just their own runners. It was most welcome.
A good race, with a number of Shrewton runners getting PBs. A special mention must go to Rich, he followed a 5k PB on Saturday with a 10k PB on Sunday. Respect!