Two Sundays ago, the Brit and I along with a friend of ours participated in the first ever Age UK Wrap Up and Run 10k at Harewood House. The morning started off a bit chilly, but the sun was shining bright. When the race started at 10 AM, we had the perfect conditions for a run.
Because this was the first run that Age UK had sponsored at Harewood House, there was not much information on it aside from it was a 10k. With the training we’ve been doing for the Edinburgh Marathon, my running pace has improved drastically so I was looking for a personal best. (The Brit even gave me a little pep talk that morning!) However, when we pulled up and realized that this race would likely not be on roads at all, I was a bit disappointed. I was pretty sure uneven conditions and a ‘trail race’ aren’t the best place for achieving a personal best. I still went into it thinking I would keep my pace up where I could and give it my all, so that’s what I did!
The Brit and our friend are both speedy, so they got up near the front and I hung back just a bit. Soon, we were off through the field and we were running on grass so I could keep a steady pace. Then, we headed into the woods where the mud began! The trail was uneven and just…well…mud. A couple of times, I was able to find a place that was harder terrain to run on for a short stretch of time before it turned into mud as well. In all honesty, I couldn’t even get frustrated because it was pretty fun to be doing a ‘different’ type of run than my usual runs on the sidewalk and canal path. I just carried on my merry way checking my pace every once in awhile realizing that I was doing quite well.
Then, the hills started. Ha! At the start, the race director kept announcing there would be a ‘slight incline at the 7.5k mark’, so I kept that in my head. But, when I started on this first series of hills, I was soon asking myself what this man considered to be a ‘slight incline’ as these were tough especially on the uneven terrain. Before the ‘slight incline’, there was a long downhill part so I took advantage of that and went as fast as I could without tripping on a rock or a branch.
It evened out around the 5k mark, so I enjoyed the flatness for a bit. Then, the ‘slight incline’ started. Holy wow. This hill was at least a mile long and steep. This is where I saw my pace slow down immensely, but I trudged along and fought off the voice in my head telling me, ‘You can walk up this hill faster than you are running right now.’ Annoying.
Finally, we reached the top and there was about a 1k left, so even though I felt like my lungs were about to collapse, I made myself go as fast as I could because there was a girl in a blue shirt that I had been leap frogging with for most of the race and I was determined to beat her. (Pretty sure she had the same goal in her head.) I knew I could push myself because the end was in sight and then I could sit down or fall over or drink some water or whatever, so off I went. And, guess what?! I beat the girl in the blue shirt! (It’s the little victories, people!)
Although I didn’t beat my personal best for a 10k, I beat my 10k time from a road race we did in November despite the crazy terrain of this race! (Again, little victories!) So, I was still really pleased!
The Brit and our friend? Well, they ran the entire race together and crushed it…both finishing in the top 85 out of 1100 runners! Well done, guys!
So, I would definitely recommend this race in the future. It is only £15 entry fee with £5 going toward a campaign to help elderly people stay warm in the winter. Just keep in mind that it is not a road race, but it was very fun to do something new and spice up the training for a day! Check it out next year!
P.S. I didn’t take any photos. But, I’d definitely recommend checking out Harewood House and its grounds — absolutely beautiful!