The day finally came. Yes, it was Sunday the 13th of December 2009. I got up at six thirty in the morning and began preparing for The Andy Reading Memorial 10k race, held just outside the little village of Chesterton nr Bicester and organised with faultless precision by Bicesters Alchester RC.
When i got to the course at about 09:30am and despite what the weather forecast had been telling me all week; it started to rain. This does not bother a hardened runner but the poor marshals who sacrifice taking part in the race are the ones who suffer what ever mother nature throws at them.
After warming up the athletics club house is a good place to go and stay warm, with the smell of coffee and fried bacon wafting from the steamy kitchen.
The rain stopped just before the start of the race. You line up on the grid, the revs are up, the gun goes off; and so do you along with up to 600 other runners. The competitors range from ex-world masters 10k champions to British triathletes and of course strong club runners - some of which specialize in flat running, which this course is. As well as the fast boys and girls there are plenty of first timers and runners who hold there own at the back of the field.
As i have mentioned briefly, the 10k course is fast and flat. The first 2k takes you on a journey through Chesterton village, this is where you might get a few surprised spectators watching you steam though whilst on their way to get the morning paper. With one bridge that crosses the M40 on the way out of the village the course Marshall's then divert you onto, The Weston On The Green airfield (not active that day, may i just add) and it's at this stage of the race that you get a chance to see just how far ahead the leaders are (unless you are one of the leaders and in that case you could look back and see the tail of runners behind you as the course takes you round the airfield). When you have finally got round the perimeter of this part of the course you then come out onto the road and head back towards the motorway bridge and finally it's down hill to the athletics club house and finish line. This last 2k is a nice blast after running the never ending airfield section and if you have got it right, this is where you can really pull the pin and check out, gaining a few extra places in the process.
I set a Pb, cracking the 40min barrier for the first time.
It is well worth staying for the awards presentation after the final person has finished...and like i said : the club house is warm and...well, Mmmm, bacon sandwiches...
Click here for the results.
And click here to see theracephotographers pictures of the race.