By Darrell Benge
Hullavington 5k The return to racing.
When I saw that entries were open for a 5k race at Hullavington I thought it an ideal opportunity to get back out racing for the first time since lockdown. With the entry done pre-race information was emailed consisting of COVID guidelines and a list of start times with waves of runners starting at minute intervals. The website also had photos, profile and a map of the route and details of race HQ.
My race number and timing chip came through the post a couple of weeks prior to the race. Hullavington is about an hour from Shrewton so I left in plenty of time to get to race HQ at the Hullavington Arms. I found a parking space on the street not far from HQ and wandered down to find one of the registration team where I had my number checked off and my temperature checked to see if I was safe to run.
I had plenty of time for a warmup joining many of the other runners going up and down the surrounding roads going through their own warm up regimes. As always prior to a race one of the important parts of the warmup is the obligatory toilet stop… Plenty of Portaloos in the pub car park with someone handing out antibac wipes to wipe down the handles going in and out. Simple COVID precautions.
Runners were being called up in their waves to the start line positioned in a junction across the road from the pub. The first wave went off at 10am. Mine was due at 10.13 so time to keep warm until our numbers were called. Each group were being called over a little before their start time to wait before being lined up to start. The four of us in my wave were called a couple of minutes before the due time so we crossed the road to wait.
Very soon we were on the start line. The race director was doing the start and gave us a very brief briefing, outlining the route. I had no fixed race plan, I was just going to see how I was feeling. Our start was briefly delayed by a passing car and then Go!
I found one of the other runners was going at a pace I was happy with, so I just stuck with that early on. It proved we had quite a quick start for the first kilometre and we gradually relaxed the pace a little. The route was on nice quiet country roads with a few well marshalled junctions and relatively flat throughout.
About halfway we reached a turnaround point. The return did not quite follow the outbound route taking a slightly different direction back to the finish outside the pub. I was feeling ok but relaxed the pace a little as we still had a couple of k to go and the final turn about 1k out was into a slight headwind.
Finally Race HQ came into view with the welcoming finish line. Over the line and the timing mat to be greeted with a medal and a piece of cake. Once I got some breath back, I selected a nice piece of brownie to take home with me. The results came through later that evening, I was pleased but slightly surprised with my time 23.41 was a 5k PB but it was some way off from the time I had on my watch of 23.18….I had another look the following day and it had been amended to 23.21. Apparently the 10 second delay we had at the start had been added to the times for wave 14 rather than taking it off the chip time.
Soon sorted and an even better result. Nearly a minute off my previous best.
A very well organised event by Stampede sports. All in a great return to racing.