The Cotswold Classic is an annual 10 mile race through the beautiful Cotswolds countryside and is organised by the Witney Road Runners. It starts and ends in Witney and passes picturesque villages and rolling hills.
This race was my first at this distance and with only 4 weeks to go before my first half marathon I thought it would give me a good idea of how ready I am for 13.1 miles. I woke up on the Sunday of the race to a beautiful blue sky and sunshine, not quite the weather I was expecting for late September. After a large bowl of my hearty porridge, I hopped in the car to drive to Witney, getting there in plenty of time for a warm up and a nosy around.
The race HQ and finish line is at Witney primary school, although the start line is a 10 minute walk away near the car park. I’ve started to learn from previous races and made a note of how the route ended. This one was just a simple short lap of the green, so I knew I wouldn’t have any unexpected extra loops once I saw the school.
At 10.20 everyone started moving so I followed the crowd up the narrow pavement to the start line. We were only there for a few minutes before the gun went off. As this was my first 10 mile run I didn’t really have any plans for pacing, I just wanted to keep it steady and hope for the best.
The race started up hill followed by a nice down hill. After this it seemed to be one long, gradual up hill. I had read a number of reviews that mentioned the ‘undulating’ course, and a few that said undulating was an understatement, so I knew this was going to be a hilly run.
I kept it rather steady throughout, managing to run up all the hills until mile 6 where the hills started to catch up with me and I had to walk up 3 of them for a bit. I found it difficult to start running again once I walked so I think in the future I’ll try and run the hills, even at a slow pace.
At around mile 8 my legs were starting to ache, especially going up that nice long hill I came down at the start but once that was over it was a straightforward run to the end.
I finished in a total of 1hour 40 minutes and 38 seconds. I was very pleased with the time and feel confident that I could keep a similar pace at the half marathon, especially as it will be a lot flatter!
I would definitely do this race again. It was well organised and a very beautiful route. I wouldn’t recommend this race for any one who hasn’t run a lot of hills. They do take it out of you and I could see that it might be disheartening if you had to walk most of them. However, if you are looking for a challenge then give this run a try. There were also plenty of country pubs along the route and I’d be tempted to bring my other half along next time and relax with a shandy after the race!