On Sunday 8th July
We had an early start and were on the road to Weybridge by 6:30am. We had a pleasant walk along the tow path towards the “race village” – perfect to wake up the legs. The check in and number allocation was to open at 7:15am, however they were still setting up and only had one person issuing numbers – a 2nd person was issuing the numbers that couldn’t be located on the computer! The queue by this point was growing fast, fortunately we were comfortably near the beginning. Numbers collected, we did the usual milling around and then joined the warm up area where we all tried to find some sense of direction to follow the steps to the warm up routine – whilst also being filmed I might add (scary). The race was due to start at 8:45 and we headed to the starting point – being in our BVR tops we were stopped by the same filming crew…panic rose in me and I was suddenly all shy and lost for words (that’s not unusual for me), I stepped back and looked to the others to speak! (thankfully I’ve not seen this footage or who they were filming for…phew). We were wished a good race and continued to the starting “zones” strategically numbered 1-3. Number 1 being the superfast runners – 3 being the 60 minutes or slower…yep this zone will suit me and wow it was hot and getting hotter!
Zones 1 & 2 went and then we were off at 8:55 – the route took us along the towpath for just over 2K this is flat and fortunately well shaded. Once we left the towpath we headed down Thames Street to the town centre. Around 2.5K there was a welcome group of children all keen with their water guns “hands up if you want us to spray you” they shouted. You join the High Street at 3K and continue on the right-hand side to a manned crossing. Ah this is good the route is nice and flat…just as I was expecting! After the High Street crossing there was a Marshall shouting “runner around the corner” at that point I realised someone mega fast was going to come flying round – fortunately I stopped and they shot past me, across the road and were gone (this junction/meeting point of runners hasn’t been very well thought out – the “outbound” runners should really continue on further up the High Street so as to avoid any nasty collisions with the returning runners). I set off again around the corner and onto Heath Road…I was going along nicely (hot but ok) but hang on, there in front of me a hill – that isn’t meant to be there…this route is flat! I set off slowly but still running up the hill, runners were now walking ahead of me and I thought no you can do this you’ve run up Gun Hill…oh wait nope it’s too hot, can’t do this…I’m walking! (at a guess Heath Road from beginning to the top is 1K). Right I’m at the top and a happy Marshall congratulates me and said “all downhill and in the shade from here”…yay…Oh wait he lied…it’s not that shady, yes its downhill but there’s another hill (this is Hanger Hill). I find myself giving in to the hill and walking again. At the bottom, you turn left and almost immediately veer off onto Baker Street, turn onto Hillcrest (this is a quirky little bit I guess to make it up to 10K), you continue in a loop up (yes up another little hill), round Hillcrest and back down onto Baker Street, turning left continuing past the shops back onto the High Street at that dodgy corner. Across and back up Thames Street. I came across a little family of 3 and the child asked if I wanted to be sprayed with water…so sweet. I’m now a little cooler for about 10 seconds. Further along Thames Street – the children from before were there again and by this point a wade through something like the River Wey would have been ideal but they gave it their all and drenched me with their water guns, I was their only target. I’m slowing down now due to the heat…8K maker only 2K to go……we are now back on the tow path…this last 2K is dragging. I caught up and ran past a lady at 9K who said to me “I’m going to follow you your pace is comfortable (really I thought I was just shuffling along now). Hot but determined to keep going I now had someone relying on me to get them to the finish…..then whoosh she shot past me “come on we can do this” the finish is in sight….with medal in hand….I’ve done it. As a summary I enjoyed the route and would run it again but in much cooler weather… I might then make it up the hills :o)
Heather, Samantha, Tina and myself headed off early to Weybridge. We met Wendy and walked the towpath from Elmbridge Canoe club (Kellie/Wendy are members) to the start. Picked up numbers and dropped our bags off, got some freebies. The atmosphere was great. Interviews were had, pics were taken, Fitness Frank warmed us up and that was all before the start. We penned into zones for the start, we started in the plus 60 group and were off. The route is largely flat and scenic along the towpath section. This year they ran it without closing roads which worked although I’m not sure how the faster groups managed with the narrow pavements. Poor Samantha did collide with one of the top runners on the way back to the finish and was winded, not sure whether closing roads may have prevented this…. There are a couple of hills, nothing too taxing but it was extremely hot so they took their toll. There were 2 official water stations but we were offered more and children along the route with squirting guns were a godsend. We all finished where we started at Walton Bridge and grabbed another bottle of water and a lovely bit of bling. Marshalling was exceptional and well organised (little blip with the numbers but it didn’t delay the start) Recommend this race, if roads are closed it’s probably a good one for a PB… oh and Dave, can we book The Grape Outdoors to attend at Rushmoor ? They do a mean cider (amongst lots of other offerings)
Run review by Kellie Archer