Fairford 10k Report, by Marina Barlow-Oakes

Fairford 10k – 3rd June 2018


I’ve had a real issues with races lately, in particular with 10k races, despite running further in training without too much of a problem. I hit a mental brick wall at around 7km, with my head telling me I need to walk, and so I give in, kicking myself afterwards.

Fairford was going to be different! I was determined to run the entire thing, with no pressure or expectation of a PB (which somehow I have already achieve in a ‘walk run’ at the Treehouse 10k).

So, with nerves of my personal challenge, plus it being a boiling hot day, I picked up Kate A and Tara L, and enjoyed a lovely drive to Fairford.  We arrived very early with ample time for us to enjoy some sunshine and the surroundings of Fairford, before our fellow team mates arrived.  None of us knew what to expect from the course, though Alison informed us it was basically 5km uphill and then 5km downhill.  We all agreed this was the better way around!

We soon made our way to the start.  I had set my watch to a pacer setting (something I swore I’d never do in a race, but a lack of confidence prompted me to try this) and promptly moved further back in the starting pack when I could see Graham and Benedict a little bit too clearly for my liking!  I didn’t want to get trampled on by the quicker runners.

Off we went, with a nice run out of the village of Fairford, which was a little congested in places, particularly over the bridge.  The first couple of km were fairly shady, which was lovely, as it was already very warm.  And Alison was right – the first half was uphill, though very scenic and on quiet roads.  I think I was cursing the race by half way and was ready for the downhill.  Like Toby in the Buckingham half marathon review, I felt that the provision of bottled water at half way was excessive and wasteful.  Although I was grateful to have a bit more water to pour over myself (than the usual cup), I did cringe having to chuck the bottle afterwards. A significant waste of water and plastic.

The second half came with its own challenges, with next to no shade and the little devil on my shoulder tempting me to walk.  My second tactic to not give in, was to run with my 33 Energy chia gel an all natural gel, which is great for those like me with a sensitive tummy.  I came across these thanks to a post on the club’s Facebook page by Andy a few months ago.  I highly recommend! I ‘treated’ myself to a bit at each KM from 7km to the end.  A couple of times I almost faltered, but the thought of my team mates at the end, and being a rare 1st SL for the club – not the race! – really kept me going (lets gloss over I was the only SL running for the club).  The final KM was around the village of Fairford, and I swear it was longest km of the race!  Coming around the final or penultimate corner, I saw Benedict, who yelled things of encouragement, swiftly followed by sights of Kate and Katherine also cheering me on.  Totally shattered, I finished the race a hot and sweaty mess.  Did I care about being a hot and sweaty mess? Not especially.  Did I do a quick time? Well, it was OK (54 mins something).  Did I walk? NO!!  Was I chuffed with that? Hell yes!!  This was a big boost for me, and the first 10k race I have fully run in over six months, perhaps a year

The post run social was my favourite part of the day.  We were all glad to have finished, and all dutifully queued to get a print out of our times and positions.  Some fantastic results for the club, including Kate A being second VL45 overall and Katharine being first VL55.  The look of surprise on Katharine’s face when she found out, was really so lovely – one of genuine delight.  We enjoyed a nice sit down with post race teas and coffees in the sunshine, making that most of that sense of accomplishment.