I had been looking forward to this race for a while. I really enjoyed the 10k I did at Stowe last November so when I saw there was a summer 10k as part of a Triathlon event I thought I’d give it a go. I even persuaded my mum to sign up with me for her first ever trail race. Then she managed to persuade my dad to sign up. This running malarkey is catching!
The 10k race is part of a bigger event which features three triathlon distances, plus a half marathon, a 10k and a 5k run and takes in the grounds of Stowe Landscape Gardens. Being part of a bigger event meant the run didn’t start until 11.30 so we had plenty of time to get there and watch some of the triathletes complete their swim and bike rides.
We were a little delayed starting due to the triathlon taking longer than expected but once we were told to assemble it was a quick start. We were sent us off in small waves so we didn’t crash into the cyclists coming towards us, both the cyclists and the runners started and finished on the same short stretch of road.
Having done a 10k at Stowe before I thought I had a good idea of the terrain. I wasn’t certain if it was the same route as before but thought it would be something similar so had told my mum that it was about as hilly as Finsbury Park and that she would be fine on the course. However, I was quite wrong.
The route was very different from November. It started uphill and seemed to continue uphill for most of the route. There were short bursts of downhill and flat but the general direction felt upwards. It was quite hard for my mum as she is used to flat London roads and commons, not uneven uphill trails, grass and gravel. I felt quite bad for misleading her so much!
The route is a two lap route and half way through the first lap I felt that something was wrong. I had started my Garmin as soon as we crossed the line but we seemed to have run more miles than was possible. Unfortunately, my mums Garmin hadn’t picked up the satellite so we were relying on mine to be accurate. The course didn’t have any mile or km markers so I really had no idea how far we had run. Just around the second lap my Garmin said we had ran 4 miles, which wasn’t right for a 6.2 mile race.
The second lap was easier, probably because we knew what to expect. There were quite a few flocks of sheep who casually looked up from their grazing as we ran past and my dad even spotted a huge boar on the side of the path just lying in the sun. I thought it was a log but as we got closer I could see it’s furry ears twitching.
As we approached the final hill before the finish line my Garmin flashed up 7 miles which really confused me but I was too glad to be near the finish to worry. As we got near the finish line I was distracted for a second giving a high 5 to a little girl on the side of the path and when I looked for my mum and dad realised they had sprinted off without me! Apparently my mum decided to go for it at the end leaving both me and my dad trying to catch up with her!
Once we were over the finish line we were stopped immediately and asked for our time tags creating a bit of a bottle neck and a very abrupt stop, not something you want having run over an hour. Once that was done I checked my Garmin and couldn’t believe it read 7.68 miles, almost a mile and a half longer than it was supposed to be. I said this to my mum and one of the organisers heard us and asked me for the mileage. He said that someone else had said the same and that it looked like someone had mismeasured the course.
That mismeasurement was 2.5k more than we were supposed to run, which is the furthest distance my mum has ever run. I felt very sorry for anyone running any of the distances for the first time, especially the half marathon. You don’t usually train beyond your target mileage so many, like my mum, would have found the extra distance on a hilly route very tough and disheartening.
So would I run the course again? I’m not sure. If the organisers ensure the course is measured accurately with mile or km markers, perhaps. It was a shame as I enjoyed the race I did in November which was organised by the same events team.
Have you ever ran a race that was longer than you expected?