This morning saw me "compete" in the first of race of a series of six 10ks at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, East London. if you only ever visited the place during the 2012 Olympics, then it has gone through and is still going through a series of changes and it is now a very tranquil place to be. The paths that wind around the park have a super grippy surface and seem to have been set up for running.
Although the event capacity was set at 700, no more than 120 turned up today. Billed as suitable for all abilities, I stood there before the start with another chap, shall we say of similar age and build, looking at the opposition, which included many young things in club vests, realising that we were going to be the back markers. Three laps of an undulating course were required. It seemed to be a question of how many times we would be lapped....
The organisation was excellent. The start point was outside the Timber Lodge cafe in the west of the park. The cafe has a purpose built event room which was used as a bag drop and was permanently manned throughout the event. Numbers were issued and marshals in hi-viz clothing were stationed at regular intervals along the way. I made sure I thanked every one of them on my last lap as I went past.
Deliberately starting at the back, over the course of the race I managed to pass four or five people, although one of them came back and actually 'dipped' me at the line! Aiming for 1hour and 6minutes, I finished in 1hour 4minutes and 47seconds. Not a PB, but objective more than achieved.
I find 10ks to be the perfect combination of real, hard work and enormous satisfaction. I had a great time today and I can't wait for the next one. Five more to go with the next one on the first Saturday in November. I chowed down on the contents of my goody bag - banana, cereal bar, gummy Bears and a chocolate frog (health food!) - as I sat on the homeward bound train with huge smile on my face.
I love this running business!