The Willow Foundation 10k at Hatfield House took place today, with a group of my colleagues taking part on behalf of Red Letter Days.
Due to other commitments I was not able to take part, but it brought back great memories. Exactly three years ago Hatfield House was the backdrop for my first ever 10k finishing in a respectable 64 minutes. The same time the following year I ran the race again coming in at 66 minutes.
Since then I have lost count on the number of 10k races I have taken part in. From flat London runs to local underlating races; I have certainly completed my share of both.
I am often asked – “Which kind of run do I prefer.” After completing six this year alone I am starting to be able to find an preference.
London runs; often based in the West End have fast become my favourite despite not enjoying the crowds previously. Although these races tend to take a while to get into due to the sheer volume of runners you have to either over take or over take you – the spirit around the whole course makes the race. During these races throughout the course you will find strangers in the crowd cheering you on, keeping you going and generally making the atmosphere. Less opportunities to break into a walk; after all you don’t want thousands of people seeing you walking. The medals for these races are usually pretty impressive and you are likely to receive a nice finishers T-Shirt too.
Local races, I find, are starting to have much less appeal. Although there are less runners meaning more space for you to break away into your own pace, I find that they can be very lonely. Running along the country roads means that there are very few spectators, making the underlating routes difficult attack. Its all about training the mind for these, which I find a challenge in itself. I often find myself slowing down to a walk at times, obviously impacting my finishing time. At times the terrain can also be extremely testing.
Laps! Laps I hate with a passion, to the point where I actually check how many laps you have to run during the given race before signing up. Again, it’s all about the mind but there is nothing worse for me than seeing the finish line and knowing you have to run that all over again. Perhaps I should try and force myself to run a few more of these in an attempt to train my mind to perform. A goal for 2017 perhaps.
If I was to give someone advice about finding the right 1ok? Sign up for one of each; a larger city run, a local underlating run and a 10k that involves running laps. You will quickly realise your preference.