Last Sunday saw the second of my series of 10K races for 2012. My general aim is to try and complete twelve races at 10K or longer during the year, and hope I can do so without getting injured again. So this latest venture was the ‘Run For Pounds’ Huddersfield 10K, organized by the local football club in support of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the youngsters in the Huddersfield Town Academy. Great causes to support, so I was pleased to be taking part. Since this year’s event was the first one, there were a few little things which might have been organized better. For example, despite signs that roads were going to be closed from 8.45am, my running partner and I found it very tough to find any road which would actually get us to the venue, despite driving around the area at 8.15am. But we eventually managed it by taking some minor roads.
Race numbers and timing chips were handed out to competitors at the registration area, and for an event with over 200 people, this was just about sufficient. If it takes off in future years though, it might be a better idea to post out these items so everybody can turn up with them, rather than queuing in the cold. But this time it was fine.
We went up to the top car park at the Galpharm Stadium ready for a warm up; I did some of that, but wanted to get my muscles loosened up with some extra stretching. So apparently, they organized runners into three groups: advanced, intermediate and beginners. I must have missed them calling people out, and just joined right at the back! All this meant was a mad dash to try and overtake the slow coaches early on – in a field of just over 200 though, there weren’t many slow ones.
The Run For Pounds Huddersfield 10K Route
So what about the route itself? I knew where we were all headed and stuck the route into MapMyRun the day before to check out the hill profile. And unfortunately, there was one long drawn out hill pretty much right from the start, all the way up to the 4km mark at Bradley Bar Roundabout. Thankfully it was then all plain sailing after that – if you had any energy left in the legs – with a kilometer or two of steady downhill running, followed by flat road to the finish. Lovely course, really! This one was definitely an improvement on the last Huddersfield 10K I did back in February (aka much easier).
As anybody in Huddersfield will attest to, the road surfaces in the town are absolutely appalling, so the early phase was a case of dodging potholes in order to avoid twisted ankles (or disappearing into the abyss!) Once onto Bradford Road, the long uphill plod began, and after a few kilometers, I lost my running partner somewhere behind. I did stop a couple of times to see if I could spot him – and of course, to take a breather – but decided to pick up the pace when I found he was nowhere in sight.
After the Bradley Roundabout, it was great to really open up, and that was some of the best, most fluid running I’ve ever done. It was great to feel like that after such a long time out injured. As always, those feelings come to an end at some point, and for me, it was just as I was overtaking somebody dressed as a smurf! I got onto the long stretch back to the Stadium, going down Leeds Road, and then the sun came out and started to incinerate the side of my head. Lucky I had my water bottle with me, and I ended up pouring most of my water over myself to keep cool.
A 10K Personal Best To Take Home
I struggled down Leeds Road, especially after the 8km mark, as my energy levels were starting to flag by that point. It was just a case of focusing on the next person in front of me in the distance, and trying to catch up with them. It was really nice to have a few spectators cheering us on though. I appreciated that a lot! And what a great site when the marshals shepherded us left and I saw the sign “400m To Go”. I still couldn’t sprint though. In past events, I always had something in reserve when I knew I was near the end, but this time? Nope. So I plodded until I saw the finishing straight and was quite happy when I saw the time on my stopwatch.
Somebody whizzed past but I didn’t care. I passed the finishing line with a time 54:03, which was my new personal best time for a 10K. It’s not fantastic, and I guess I’d like to get under 50 minutes sometime this year, but I was very pleased with it. I even high-fived a giant furry Huddersfield Town mascot, I was so pleased with it! And I got a certificate – sweet!
A really enjoyable event – I recommend it. If you ever do this one, just grit your teeth up the hill, and then it’s awesome for 6km. My calf muscles still haven’t forgiven me though, writing this two days later. I think it’s the dreaded DOMS rather than injury though; the price that has to be paid for knocking those almost two minutes off my PB. It had better have gone by tomorrow, as I’m scheduled for a 12.5K long run as part of my half-marathon training.
Next up, I have entered the Sport Relief Mile charity campaign this year – I only heard about it late, from my running partner, and signed up for the 6 mile version. I’ll write more on that later. Should be fun – in fact, I’m not even sure if it’s even timed, so I’ll just go for the exercise!
Here’s a little bit of footage I found of Sunday’s fun and games: