I can hardly believe that it already over a week since I actually ran this race. I am usually quite good at being prompt with my race reviews but the last seven days have included celebrating my birthday, the usual family commitments and to be honest lazing on the sofa watching people eat sheep penis and pig anus. It’s not that I didn’t love the race either, what’s not to enjoy about a lovely countryside course on a crisp winter morning and a PB by over 90 seconds?
I am still slightly confused by a couple of things from last Saturday though. I have lived in East Lancashire for nearly 10 years now but my trips over to Preston and the surrounding area have been few and far between and have mainly been to catch a train to London. I have never been to Wesham before and despite this race being the Wesham 10k, I still don’t think I have been to Wesham. On the drive there I never saw a sign for Wesham. The race was a loop course starting and finishing in Lea Town and going through Boltons Croft and Clifton, according to the rather smart map on the finisher’s t-shirt. I know I could just look at a map but where is Wesham and more to the point how do you pronounce this place name? In my head it was Wesh-am, but during the pre-race briefing I am sure the chap doing the talking said Wes-ham, my brain works in odd ways, these things actually keep me awake at night!
Getting back to the race itself and it was a new one for me. The race HQ was at a local pub, genius idea from whoever came up with that. Plenty of seating to keep warm once I had collected my race number and timing chip and there were brews and bacon butties on offer for anyone wanting last minute fuel or for those who had turned out to spectate, I half expected someone to be necking a pint of ale too. The car parking was plentiful and was right next to the starting funnel. Having left the pub I took shelter from the early morning chill back in the car for a while and watched as those a bit braver than I warmed up by running up and down the car park. I eventually grew a pair and joined everyone else for the briefing, tucking my arms inside my top to maintain a degree of warmth, the chap wearing the Blackburn Road Runners mascot outfit had gone to the other extreme, it looked hot in that suit!
The course itself was a lovely route around country lanes and once I got going I soon warmed up. My training has been going well and I decided to just go for it and see how it went but I made a conscious decision again not to check my watch. The field of nearly 500 spread out quite quickly but I was always running with someone or chasing someone down. The lanes were slightly rough in places and a covering of mud and horse muck made a couple of areas a tad slippery but nothing too dangerous. This part of Lancashire is pretty flat and there were a couple of sections I would describe as rolling but nothing that could be defined as a hill.
After what seemed like no time at all the race HQ pub came back into view and I knew the finish would be nearby, although I wasn’t 100% sure where the line actually was. Turning back onto the main road through the village and I saw numerous spectators and some runners who had already finished. The friendly marshall who had earlier guided me into the car park from the other direction was now signalling me to turn left back into the car park and it was at that point that I saw the line and the timing clock. Only at that point did it dawn on me how fast I had actually run. My previous best was 44:06, pre-race I secretly hoped to shave those couple of seconds off and go under 44 minutes but to come in at 42:32 was a genuine surprise.
For a local race with a reasonable entry price the finisher’s medal and t-shirt were really good and I love the colour of the top too which is always a bonus, there were also plenty of race photos uploaded onto Facebook, as you can see I have saved several, inflated race photo prices are a real turn off so it is great to see a smaller race helping to publicise itself in this way and also give runners so nice souvenirs. My main criteria for rating a race is my initial reaction of did I enjoy it and would I do it again, in this case it is a resounding yes on both counts. A big thanks to Wesham Road Runners for putting on the event and to their team of marshals and helpers who were all really welcoming, I might try your summer 10k in 2019, possibly a bit warmer.