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Woodley 10k – Teresa Milroy renews her relationship with running at this great 10k

For some reason I decided it was too cold for running this winter. I fell out of love with running. I opted to hibernate instead of putting myself through the pain of outside winter training. I would regularly look at the Joggers Journal and feel inspired by my fellow club members and impressed by their effort but I still couldn’t get motivated to get myself out running in the cold weather. I did lots of training from the comfort of my own home including circuit training and weight training but nothing compares to the feeling of running outside.

My dad, Colin Carpenter signed up for the Woodley 10km. After speaking to a fellow runner about the course I thought why not as it sounds like a good course so I entered the race, did some parkruns and a couple of long runs and was ready to go come Sunday 15th April.
On the evening of Saturday 14th April I really didn’t want to get up for the 9am start on Sunday. I wasn’t really feeling the running vibe so half heartedly got my stuff ready to leave at 7:30am. The alarm went off on Sunday morning and I was surprised by how fresh I felt. The weather was nice and mild. Perfect running conditions.
We arrived at Woodley Memorial Park at about 8am. Parking was easy and a very short walk from the start. Plus, parking is free on a Sunday. Result! After speaking to fellow Sandhurst Jogger Katy Mead and a quick warm up I was feeling confident about the race and hopeful of completing it in about an hour.
After getting ready and putting my bag in the car  I realised I left my Garmin at home charging……… This meant I had no choice but to run “naked”. No idea of my splits at all during the race. “This could be interesting!” I thought. Luckily for me Woodley is very well organised and they had pacers this year courtesy of Elite Conditioning. Not all is lost I just needed to find the 60 min pacer and see if I could stick close to them.

After a last minute dash to the loo I started at the back with Dad with the 90 minute pacer. It was a slow start but that’s okay; “I can still do this”. I ran the first 1km with Dad and we passed the 70 minute pacers. I left Dad after this desperately trying to find the 60 minute pacer… Still no luck. I passed the 65 minute pacer at about 2km…. Where was the 60 minute pacer? 3km, 4km still no luck.
Teresa Milroy
Approaching 5km and I was getting disheartened. Still no sign of the 60 minute pacer. I was hoping somebody near me had an app that told them their splits but alas I was still running blind. I was then cheered on by a fellow Sandhurst Jogger who was marshalling. He lifted my spirits and propelled me forward. Even though I didn’t know my splits I felt like I was making good time. I decided that If I still felt this good at 8km then I would push the pace whether I found the 60 minute pacer or not. I clearly wasn’t as fit as I wanted to be.

At about 5.5km I caught the 60 minute pacer…. YAY! She didn’t even look like she was trying. I overheard her tell a fellow runner that she was holding back now to get her average back on pace after a faster couple of kms. She encouraged the group that had built up around her to run ahead if we were chasing the 60 minute finish time.

I felt good so ran on. Luckily this was on a downhill stretch. This changed my mindset from finding the pacer to not letting the pacer catch me. It added a bit of excitement to my race and made me push a bit harder, especially as I knew I was over the half way mark. The rest of the race went quickly and I found I was overtaking more people than were overtaking me. It was at about 8km when I realised that in my mind I thought I was doing 10 miles (The last race I did was Maidenhead 10 Miler on Good Friday). I was happy when I realised that I had just over a mile to go. I was running on my threshold but felt good. I felt even better when the man in front of me said we were on for sub 58 minutes. Excellent! I completed the race in 57.17 and was extremely happy with my efforts. I received my medal and headed to see Dad come in to the finish at 1.01.37.

Overall, I would say that Woodley is a very well organised race with a brilliant atmosphere from the start of the race to the finish. The marshals are brilliant and there was plenty of support on route. Even though it is an early start its worth it!
In regards to running with no GPS. I enjoyed the experience but I wouldn’t want to do it again. I don’t know how well I would have coped without the pacers as they gave me something to aim for and a general idea of where I was. I am very happy with my time but part of me would still love to know my splits.

I will be doing Woodley again next year and now the warmer weather is here I look forward to getting my running relationship back on track and start smashing some of my PBs.



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