I arrived at Sherborne School on Sunday morning, to the sound of enthusiastic cheering, as competitors in the fun run crossed the finish line. The 2.5km fun run looked refreshingly well organised, in comparison to the fun run at Fairford earlier in the month, when the leading runners had to negotiate a road blocked with runners lining up for the 10k race.
The Sherborne 10k, organised for the second year by the friends of the village primary school, is very definitely a family event, complete with tombola, children’s games and children dressed as bananas. I’d been tempted to enter this race by the prospect of running through the National Trust’s Lodge Park, but whilst the setting is stunning, for some reason the implications of weeks of rain on the woodland trails hadn’t occurred to me. The penny dropped when I noticed that the fun runners were coming back plastered in mud!
There was a warm up in the school playground before the race, although the rain had picked up and most runners seemed reluctant to leave the shelter of the school building and the surrounding trees to take part.
Leaving the village and heading up a steep, slippery hill, I wondered what I’d let myself in for. As I sloshed along the muddy trails, in my road shoes, splattering mud and dodging massive puddles, my language was more colourful than usual. Somewhere in the second kilometre, I heard what sounded like a woman’s breathing coming up behind me. I had a feeling that I was third placed woman, so I knew I couldn’t let her get past me. I tried to speed up, but my legs wouldn’t cooperate and, as I veered from side to side in a comedy fashion, she sailed past me. “Don’t panic”, I told myself, “just stay with her and overtake her when she gets tired”. I was congratulating myself on this plan, until I noticed the distance between us increasing rapidly, as she accelerated further away.
After 4km the route took us back through the village and onto a dirt track and I managed to make up some ground, catching up with my rival as we struggled up another hill. I was just about to summon the energy to overtake her, when we made a sharp turn onto (you’ve guessed it) more muddy trails.
So, would I recommend the race? Well, it was a friendly race, great for families, and very scenic. However, it’s not for people wanting a PB, or people with new trainers!
Returning home from work yesterday, I was surprised to find an interesting looking package that had arrived in the post from the Friends of Sherborne School. It was an Ordnance Survey map of the Cotswolds. Due to a lack of entrants in the LV65 age category they had decided to award the prize to me, for finishing in fourth place.