Race report: Prestwood 10K
Local races often get over looked. They can be smaller, with less impressive bling than some of the big ticket events – and with less participants, there is always the worry that you could come last, (well for me anyway – I still worry about being dead last!)
For the past 13 years Prestwood village (in the Chilterns) has been host to the Chiltern MS Society Prestwood 10K which brings together a community of club runners, beginners and most recently, children’s races. The route is pretty easy – taking in country lanes and residential roads with a couple of inclines in the first half. It’s a route tried and tested by me as I often use it in training. Over the past seven years since we moved here, I’ve probably done the event a handful of times and always enjoy seeing local friends and neighbours along the route and cheering outside their houses. This year I also met up with new running friends Steve and Pete from UKRUNCHAT who live locally too!
Yesterday, I joined the start line with a bit of a sore head! Not the best plan. We’d had friends up for the weekend, so the inevitable BBQ and sunshine drinks ensued. For morale support (and to stop me from wimping out) my friend Chaz decided to run with me, (I think he was suffering too and wasn’t in the mood to try a PB). I set out to run it under an hour and be back in time to see my son race with the 10 year olds. It was quite tempting half way to just pop home – since we passed my house!
It was great having my own personal pacer – as if I naturally slowed down, Chaz was always there to remind me to pick my knees up or ‘man up’! As I was feeling under-par, I probably wouldn’t have pushed myself at all. So with a bit of encouragement from Chaz (who barely broke a sweat), we got home in 58:39 (official Gun time). Quite possibly a ‘course recor for me – as I seem to remember previous attempts at this 10K just scraping in under an hour with a few seconds to spare. However, yesterday was not about the PB or the medal, I was just pleased to be participating in something so local, as well as encourage familiar faces and congratulating friends.
Local races need the support just as much as larger races. Often there is a running club or local charity organising the event, making it more pressing to raise funds or improve facilities. It’s a great way of making new friends too, or find running buddies.
A village or town event also sets a great example to children to watch their mums, dads, aunties or teachers running in a local event. Three years ago, the organisers of the Prestwood 10K decided to introduce children’s races for age five and upwards, which were popular yesterday with many local school children taking part – although perhaps not as many as there could have been.
Two of my sons ran – one only aged three, but insisting he wanted to ‘run like Mummy’ – and made us very proud wearing their race bibs and collecting their fun run medals at the end. I hope that I have passed on the attitude of ‘it’s good to try’ through my own running journey. I’ll never be an amazing runner, but that’s not the point of it. Having a go and enjoying yourself is just as important, if not more so, than winning. It’s all about just getting out there and having a go whether it takes 30 odd minutes to do a 10K or 2 hours – having something so motivating on the doorstep is a great opportunity to try running events. And yes, you may come last. In all my worry I never have – and even if you do – who actually cares!? They always get the biggest cheer anyway 🙂
Have a look on Runners World for your local events – you might meet new people and discover new running routes! Or if you know of any good smaller events please comment below.