For one half of the GinRunners it was a two-part weekend, with Saturday heralding a jaunt down to the beautiful Lake District for a stab at the Kielder 10K. Heading south the omens were positive. The sun was shining, the skies were blue and all was good with the world.
I knew one thing about the Kieder races from a friend who ran the Half Marathon last year. In 2017 they somehow managed to not have their nice bespoke medals in time to give out on the day. So… what are the chances of that happening twice in a row ?? Well, 100% as it turned out. The day before the race we all received an email saying “it’s not our fault, Storm Ali did it”.
Nope, it’s you race, you’re responsible.
Does it matter? Well yes and no, actually. One of the best bits about finishing a race is getting handed a piece of metal you’ve worked bloody hard for. At least after last year the organisers knew how to implement a plan B, and I don’t think anyone was too disappointed with the end of race swag for 2018.
We arrived in plenty of time, and followed the signs to the car park. This turned out to be the wrong one. We headed further along the road where an army chap directed us in the “right” direction. Heading down this new road we joined a line of traffic waiting to get into an already full car park, so everyone had to spin around and head back up the way we’d come. While still more cars were joining the queue.
Military precision eh ??
Out in the cold
Third time lucky we found the right car park, which just happened to be over the road from the race village. The temperature had dropped a good bit but the buzz was definitely building as the start time approached. I’m crap at deciding what to wear for a race. You either freeze beforehand or boil during the run. This time I managed both, which takes some doing.
I stayed in Mabel out of the cold before wandering down with about 20 minutes to go. The queues for the few available toilets were quite impressive.. I hope everyone made it in time to get to the start.
The start lane was long and narrow. This meant that as I’d been keeping warm in the van I couldn’t get anywhere near the sub-55 minute starting area. No biggie, It looked like initial progress would be slow anyway and I was here to enjoy the scenery.
The race was started by Daley Thompson (kids, ask your parents to ask their parents) who was promoting his new protein bars. The first part of the race was quite narrow so it was a case of walk / trot / walk waiting for things to open out a bit. There was even a brief standstill at a narrow bank that was quite steep. That would have been fun if it had been raining.
Hitting the heights.
Not far after that the long ascent to the high point of the race began. Overtaking was still difficult here so I just found my place and bimbled up the hill making sure I looked around and enjoyed the stunning scenery. From the top of this climb the pace picked up but any thoughts of a decent time had gone out the window. Hey, we’re the`GinRunners, who cares about times !!!
The first water station brought a new thing to try.. cans of water. Never seen those before but I imagine the metal is easier to recycle in these days of cutting plastic dependency.
On the wider trails, while still busy, the field opened out a bit and everyone seemed to be having a really nice time. Every so often you got a glimpse of the lake and an enticing view of the waterside centre where we knew the finish line awaited.
There was another decent climb to negotiate before we got onto the home straight though. This was quite enjoyable to run up, and I was kind of glad I’d taken it easy for the first half of the race. From the top of this it was all waterside track before things narrowed down again for a blast along some awesome woodland trail. The narrow track and tiring competitors meant some parkour style overtaking via the tree stumps at the side of the path was necessitated but fortunately I managed to not face-plant 🙂
They think it’s all over
The big crowd awaiting the runners at the start / finish area gave everyone a last minute lift as we headed up a wee hill and over the line to collect our stand-in medals. To be fair, these were better than some that we’ve received this year and hats off to the organisers for going to the extra expense of making sure every finisher got their bling. The t-shirt and goody bag followed, with a mars bar, a bottle of after sun (!) and a couple of those Daley Thompson protein bars.
Which were, erm, not to everyone’s taste…
And that was that for Kileder 10k 2018, and it had been a grand day out. The first of the weekend’s two 10Ks in the bag we headed back over the border to get ready for Sunday’s trip to Linlithgow to do it all again.