Richmond Riverside 10km
On 26th July I took part in the Richmond Riverside 10km race. The route was an out and back loop along the towpath between Richmond and Kingston. Having really struggled with injury and the hills during the Surrey Badger Half-Marathon two weeks earlier I was excited about the prospect of tackling a fast, flat route. The start was only a short drive from home so I was feeling nice and settled on the morning of the race. By 9.30 the temperature was already building towards the low twenties as we experienced a very warm English summer, but aside from this, conditions were ideal. I had learnt from previous experiences with what works for me to eat and drink before races and I felt that a really good result could be achieved.
I have only previously run one other 10km race. This was a complete disaster. It was over six years ago. I was horribly unfit and suffered badly from cramp. My dad beat me. This was a chance to set this right. Given how hard I’ve been training I felt fairly certain that beating my previous best – which was in the mid-50 minutes – wouldn’t be too hard, so I set myself a target of breaking 45 minutes. The start, as ever, was fairly chaotic. At each race they ask people to position themselves sensibly, depending on their targets, but without fail, there are always a large collection of people who are there simply to finish that insist on starting right at the front. It drives me mad as it then means the first kilometre is spent battling through these people. This race was no different but I eventually settled in to a good rhythm alongside a group running a fairly quick but steady pace. The water stations were great, especially given the temperature, and at half way I was feeling comfortable. I was just ahead of target, but a strong second half was still needed to get in under 45 minutes.
The course runs back past the start/finish after about 7 km and at this stage I felt confident enough to put in a small push as the music and cheers lifted all the competitors. Only one of the group I had been running with was able to go with me which gave me a big adrenaline buzz. This has been my first summer of competitive endurance events and I love that feeling of overtaking people. It’s addictive and I can’t wait for more chances to race in the future!
The last two kilometres were completely exposed to the sun and the heat began to take its toll slightly but I kept a decent pace. Coming into the final 500m I realised that I was approaching 45 minutes and put in a big kick for home. I pushed again for the final 100m, really digging deep, and crossed the line in 44 minutes 55 seconds. I was ecstatic! Not only had I broken 45 minutes but I also came 25th out of 370 competitors. This race has given me so much confidence going forward and I just want to get fitter and faster. Having finished the half marathon two weeks before feeling a bit dejected it was great to sprint across the finish line, knowing that I had been able to give everything.
Finishers received a medal (which all races should have), sweets and plenty of cold water. All good so far! In addition, as with many races, a recovery drink was also offered. This is something that I usually take full advantage of. This case was different. Could all race organisers please actually try the drinks on offer? Rank tasting coconut water is really not what people are looking for! It really was disgusting. Aside from this, it was a great event, and one that I would love to compete in again in the future!