I really wanted to do my first race of 2018 in January, so when I saw that the Freethorpe 10 would take place at the end of the month I quickly signed up. The Freethorpe 10 is a 10 mile race with a route that takes runners through the Norfolk countryside. It’s not a flat course (that annoying word ‘undulating’ is used to describe it), but it does go past some beautiful scenery and even takes runners past a part of the Norfolk Broards. It’s mainly a local race and attracts many of the running clubs in the region, so there are some very fast runners racing (the first woman came in just under 60 minutes!). It does try to be inclusive though and aims to cater for all running abilities.
Last year I ran this race in just over 1 hour 23 minutes, so I ideally wanted to beat this time (my PB for 10 miles is 1:20:07). While waiting at the start the wind was picking up and knowing that we would be running on roads through a lot of open countryside, I knew that the wind was going to be a challenge on the run. As well as this, I planned to go out for another run in the evening to get in enough miles for my marathon training, so I had this at the back of my mind!
We started in waves. I was in the second wave and we went about 2 minutes after the first wave had set off. The third wave behind us was the last to go. The first three miles went well. I was under an 8 minute mile pace, but after mile 3 I could feel my pace dropping as the wind seemed to get stronger. Between 3-6 miles I found it tough, there were a lot of gradual inclines which combined with running into the wind was draining, there must have been downhill sections but I can’t seem to remember these! I think I felt that I was running worse than I was though as I was keeping to a 8 minute mile pace and when I got to about 10k I looked at my watch and saw I was just over 49 minutes.
Between 6-9 miles my pace dropped again and I was running at about 8.5 minute miles. We ran through some villages at this point and some of the locals had come out to cheer on runners, which helped to keep me going and find a little extra energy. At mile 8 I knew there was only 2 miles left and the route meant I could see faster runners as they were getting to their last 400 meters – this was a mental boost as I knew I just had to hang on for a few more miles and at mile 9 I upped my pace. By the last 400 meters I decided to give it everything I got and managed a sprint finish across the line.
Looking at the clock going across the finish line I thought it said 1 hour 26 minutes and my watch said over 1 hour 23 minutes, so I was expecting a time of over 1:23:00. When the results were published last I got a time of 1:22:43 – a PB with that course! I was really happy as I found running in that wind tough and didn’t think I had been running that well…and I got a great finisher’s medal too!