Chew Valley 10k – The Dream Race or was it just a Dream?
By Lee Woodland
Have you ever had one of those weird dreams where you done a race in your head? No? Neither have I to be honest – although I’ve had my fair share of strange dreams.
Well that’s what I thought anyway.
On Sunday the 10 th June I was awoken by our small black Labrador alarm clock known as Holly. Unfortunately she only has one time programmed into her and that 6:00! I then had some pre-race breakfast while Nikki took the dogs for an early walk. At 8:15 Nikki and I left for the race HQ. When we arrived at the football club HQ the only Cheddar representative we could find was Si Ball, stood on his own looking a bit chilly. Si Walsh and Rachael Flinders had gone off for a ‘warm up’ run.
We didn’t wait long before Si and Rachael returned. Soon after the rest of the Cheddar gang emerged – Sarah Neild, Gill Constable, Paula Crossman and Adrian Green. We were then joined by the remaining support crew of Jo Rich and Jenny McNamara.
Once all the final toilet trips had been completed we made our way to the start line. It was almost perfect conditions. Cool but not cold. A few of us stood in the 40-50 minute pen when Rachel made me laugh. She asked me to pace her at 7:15 min/mile! I said I’d try, but I was taking it easy as I had Clevedon 10k booked for Tuesday. In reality with my race preparation consisting of 4 pints of Butcombe the night before I didn’t think I had a single 10k in me – let alone two in a week!
Anyway all of that pacing talk went out of the window when the gun went off and Rachael set off like a mad woman in her hi-vis, pink shorts. I thought she’d been taking pacing tips from Tom Pope! The excellent support crew gave us cheer and off we went. Si Walsh, myself and Sarah Neild all tried to keep up with Rachael, but by 4k she was pulling away. By 5k we hit ‘the hill’ and Si Walsh started pulling away from me. In my head I was still telling myself I was taking it easy because of Clevedon on Tuesday. In reality I was already knackered and the Butcombe was kicking in, but to keep me
going I always felt Sarah was just on my shoulder.
When we all got to the top of the hill it was relief. I could still just about see Si, but I couldn’t see Rachael or Sarah. “Ah, nice and flat” I thought to myself. Not really. Then when 2 runners running beside you say “I hate this bit” you soon find out why. The ‘undulations’ just went on and on! Finally, a nice long straight bit and here in the distance the ‘pink bum’. I’d found Rachael again. I finally made it to the long downhill section. It was great to finally be going downhill but my legs were so tired and my knees were a bit sore I could hardly get any benefit out of it. But it was a very
welcome change. Then I saw the 400m to go marker. “Nearly there” someone said. You’re joking mate, once around a track is not “nearly there”. Then 100m to go and a little up-hill finish, with the support crew cheering us on to the finish line. Finally it was over. Ahead of me Rachael and Si and soon after me Sarah (age category winner – again!) and Paula followed by Adrian, Si and Gill.
We all joined up with the support crew while Rachael and Si went for a cool down run, before making our way back to the HQ for some cake, tea, the prize giving and some group photos – thanks to Nikki.
All in all it was a great race, very well organised and very friendly that I personally wasn’t prepared for. However being part of such a great club and such great team mates made it even better. I’m sure I’ll do it again.
So, was it a Dream Race? Well I did start to question things later. Once Nikki had posted the majority of the race photos, including the team photos onto Facebook things went a little strange. I was there, I’m sure I was. All the little details were fresh in my mind. But something made me doubt myself as the comments came in.
Well it wasn’t a dream race or race I dreamt, but I did enjoy it and it was great day out with a great club.