Yesterday I competed in my first ever club event as I ran in the InterClub Frostbite fixture. This was fixture #3 hosted by Huntingdon AC and was being run around Hinchinbrook Country Park. Now I have run the Parkrun there quite a few times but nothing quite prepared me for this 5mile course.
I turned up full of anticipation and was very excited to see what the event would be like having never attended anything like this before. I got to the venue in good time as I wanted to soak a little of the atmosphere up, watch the juniors race and most importantly see if I could scrounge a loan of a club vest. The vest is needed to be able to compete and although I have mine on order it did not come through in time.
I found Johno and got my name down on the list and asked for his help in sourcing a spare vest so I could compete. Whilst I waited to see if he could come up trumps I settled in and watched the start of the juniors race. The gun went off and they all sprinted across the field into the first turn and out of sight. There was a real buzz around the start finish as people jostled for positions to cheer there juniors through. It wasn’t long before the first juniors came around and into the final straight and the roar of encouragement went up and you could see them really pushing those final few yards. The determination on some of those kids faces was awesome. I stood and watched all of them come home and really enjoyed the atmosphere that engulfed everyone.
With that race over and 30mins before the seniors were due to start I decided I had better see if a vest was found and try to start getting in the head zone for a run. I wandered into the main hall and found a few of the club members and was pointed in the direction of Mike who wasn’t running but was prepared to lend me his vest to compete. What a top guy Mike is, I was very happy he loaned me his vest and now I quickly got changed and headed out side for a warm-up. As I finished my stretches and a quick jog to get the limbs loosened up I headed back to the start line which was looking pretty busy. I made my way over to where most of my club were gathering and started to chat to a few people. This is where I was taken by surprise as the gun sounded and we were away. A quick start of the GPS and and a minor fight with my gloves over the first 100yrds or so and I settled into the pack.This is where things started getting interesting, the ground was so boggy and wet it was like running through treacle. Massive surges of people slowing up to circumnavigate the mass mud puddles and then a sudden surge through them. I witnessed one guy lose his shoe in the middle of the mud pool, you had to feel for him as the people behind then proceeded to trample his shoe into the mud pool further. We then ran up into the woods, I say run, what i really mean is slide and slip and then slip and slide all the way to the top, that in itself was bloody hard work and at that point all I could think of was that we had to do this bit again right near the end!!!
The race then continued through the woods then down towards chestnut avenue and out onto the main road then back into the park around the main lake as we approached the 3 mile mark I was gritting my teeth with determination to carry on as i was really feeling the course. As we cleared the main lake the realisation of having to go up into the wildlife area attempt ‘that’ mud run again really shook my confidence a little. The first time up it was hard, the second time (after already doing just over 3 miles and the fact it had already been churned up by 100s of runners) made it so very difficult. To finally emerge out of the woods and past the main car park was a real relief as there was a lovely downhill all the way down and round into chestnut avenue. Mentally I found a little second wind at this point as I knew that I was not far away.
As I got closer to coming out of the woods and into the open space and the final stretch across the field the noise of the crowd gave me again a little lift as a ran to the finish, I even heard my name shouted out and I won’t lie… that felt great!! As I crossed the line and into the finish funnel I actually genuinely thought that I was going to throw up. I felt so sick, I literally had given everything and my body was letting me know that.
In the end I had come 370th out of 425 runners on the day and although I knew that I was never going to be fighting for honers at the front I had achieved my goal of finishing ( and not last, which was a genuine fear of mine ).
This was another milestone on my journey from ‘fat to fit’ and one that I am extremely proud of. I really love being a part of this club and have been made to feel so welcome and I am very excited about just how far I may be able to personally push and improve myself in 2015.