Report from Richard Smith:
After being plagued by injury since April, it was mixed emotions today knowing it would be a ‘final hurrah’ in an Otley vest, having moved
down to Worcester. I’ve recently started training with Worcester AC over the last 2 weeks and have been recruited into training for the Eynsham 10K, near Oxford at the end of November.
As a means of getting back into competitive running, I decided to enter the inaugural ‘Iron Runner 10K’ event, set in the Worcestershire countryside on an undulating, hilly route consisting of grass, uneven ploughed farmers fields and various trails/tracks with a few steel gates thrown in. The route had only been finalised in the week gone and it was a low-key event with only about 50 people on the start line, in the middle of nowhere, with not even sheep for company.
With clear blue skies, and perfect conditions we were off. Over the first mile I found myself perched behind three runners over a fast, downhill mile. Having gone slightly wrong at a turning, these lads found themselves behind me up to the mile mark and normal service was shortly resumed. It was then lone running for the remainder. Tough climb at 3K (seriously lacking hill stamina), and just before the 5K mark, I saw a lad some way ahead of me follow a track turning. Having partially followed him, I noticed him stop and shrug his shoulders which prompted me to turn round back onto the farmers field, and, after a brief stop to get my bearings, I spotted the sacred red and white ribbon on a tree branch and ploughed on.
With nobody in sight and a fear of getting lost, I took my foot off the gas slightly. A brutal climb at 6K limited me to a walk, but the final 3K were a little kinder and I saw myself eventually cross over the line in around about 45 minutes. It was then that I heard the leader (who was miles ahead) took a wrong turn in the final mile.
Whilst not being the best mathematician, I figured I’d finished 2nd and greeted the sheepish looking winner. Exuberant celebrations shortly followed with a packet of haribo and a solitary digestive biscuit.
A friendly atmosphere, challenging (adventurous!) route over 10K distance, for a good cause, and great to get back into the race spirit. Now to find those Worcestershire hills.