The Alton 10 mile run was race number 9 in the Hampshire road race League 2018 starting and finishing at Eggars school. I used the RunABC south website to find the race, 10 miles and quite local for me. It did say it was undulating and a reasonable £16 entry fee.
Build Up to race day:
I wanted to find a 10 mile race to stretch myself after having a frustrating winter with a hamstring and calf injury. It has taken a long while to feel right and get the confidence that my injuries are behind me (old age kicking in!). The last month or so at Lookout on Sunday mornings and Tuesday evening runs have help build that confidence up again. I delayed my entry until the last minute. On Tuesday before the run I made sure I was OK and finally pressed the button – done – I was committed and no turning back! The next couple of days I made sure I was stretching and massaging my calf every evening.
Sunday morning, I arrived at Alton quite nervous and thinking that 35 minutes before start was ample time. However, I soon found that the carpark was at least a mile away from the race start and registration. Strangely both legs seemed tight as I made a slow jog to the registration area as race numbers were issued on the day. I had left everything in the car and without my glasses couldn’t see what I was writing on the back of my number! J
I made my way to the very back of what appeared to be a big turnout; it was limited at 500. Clubs from all around the area were in attendance. I told myself to enjoy it and just go at a pace that I felt comfortable with. Finishing was most important and not the time! 10:30am start and off we went. I don’t have a garmin running watch and didn’t know what pace I was at, but just ran at a comfortable pace. We slowly got out of the built-up area and into the country side passing people on my way. The course was mainly on open country roads, undulating, hilly and very well marshalled. It started to get quite warm but I was feeling good as the first water station at 3 miles came around. I grabbed some water and on we went. Guess what? Yes it continued to be undulating and hilly! In fact, just after mile 6 the second water station was at the top of the hill. Legs were feeling good and at mile 7 the marshal said the next hill was the last (he obviously hadn’t been further than that point!). It was a long steep hill and tested a lot of the people around me. I managed to get to the top without stopping and onto mile 8. There was a third water station at mile 8 and I was feeling good so didn’t bother stopping. At this stage I was getting into uncharted territory as I hadn’t gone beyond about 8.5 miles this year. My legs still felt OK and as my confidence rose I started to wonder what time I was going to finish in. Earlier on I had heard a couple of people discussing finishing around 1:40 but they were quite a way behind me at this stage. Last mile started downhill but finished on a half mile incline into the school. Lots of the runners were clapping and encouraging the finishers which was great. I turned into the school and got across the line on 1:33.38 which I was very pleased with.
It was a great run, lovely country side, well marshalled and I would certainly give it a go again next year. I achieved exactly what I wanted to, it was a bit of a confidence boost and I have to thank the other SJ’s who had encouraged me. The next challenge for me is to do my first half marathon – looking at Windsor after summer – anyone else up for it?