Silchester is a small village near Reading and home of an ancient Roman wall. My memories of Silchester are from my childhood and thinking we were driving hours away on school trips to go for some historical walk. Little did I know it’s only 25 minutes away (yay!) and actually somewhere I unknowingly have already discovered on horse back.
As I’ve got Endure coming up in just a few weeks, I decided this would be the perfect time to start ‘training’. My day started with a Parkrun at TVP Reading alongside my Mum, where we adopt a run/walk strategy (this week we took another 1.5 minutes off her PB!). Following this, I had half an hour to get to the fun run before registration closed, I had a friend pick up my number because I thought it was going to be a bit tight, but managed to get there with plenty of time to spare and no problems with parking despite a warning on the pre-race email. A short twenty meter walk from my car to the start line and we were ready to go.
After a short ‘group warm up’ – which not a single club runner took part in, we were at the start line and quickly took off at 11am. I was running with a friend, Emma, who is also doing Endure, she’s recovering from injury, and for once I just wanted to run for fun, with no cares about time, pace, distance etc. Except that I had to be home for 1pm so that I could move house!! It was such a relief, and I managed to take in a lot more of the run that I usually would and even managed some selfies! I did however decide this would be a good benchmark for my Endure times, as there were hills, it was also off road and slower than my usual club run pace which will account for tired legs at Endure.
The course was flat for the first half, and undulating on the second half. With a few road crossings. There was a small amount of congestion at the start where there is a single track for about 100m, but it quickly spread out and there was plenty of space to move around and overtake. It was a really lovely course and whilst there were hills that’s what adds to the ‘fun’! At around the 3 mile mark, a guy that had been using us to pace his run/walk strategy started to overtake us, so we cheered him on, and I think at this point he decided he’d rather stick with the company of us than try and tackle the rest alone! We got chatting to Alex, who was a year into his drastic weight-loss scheme, where he’d already lost 4 stone. Last year he was the last person over the line at 1hour40, and alongside his normal gym routine, only runs about 15 minutes on the treadmill. Considering at 3 miles he was on track for about a 35 minute 5K, I thought this was amazing!
I would really recommend the event to everyone and anyone! It’s pretty low key, and there were people walking from a mile in, so there are no expectations of having to finish in a certain time or be a particular pace. I think this would be a really good race for anyone that’s not quite ready for a 10K or would like a shorter distance. Another perk is you can run with your dog (I must remember this for next year!).
I’ll be back next year, and it would be fab to see more SJ’s there. Anyone with kids, there’s also a shorter 2.5 mile course which starts about 5-10 minutes after the 5 mile race has left.