Race Time – 00:57:59. I was pretty happy with this. I was expecting a time of one hour. However I was for some reason expecting quite a standard 10k. It was only in the car on route that the wife realised that the term “crag” is an old word for “hill”. So I was racing at Cragside House. Which obviously means “house on the side of a hill”. Once she told me this I got a bit of a fear on!!! So to break an hour on a course harder than I was expecting, was pleasing.
Breakfast – 2 Heck Sausages. 97% meat, and less than 1g of Carb. 1 Mug of coffee. 250ml of still water before the race. Probably not a traditional pre race breakfast!!! However I am experimenting with options. Energy wise I was very happy with the race. In fact at the end of the race I was barely out of breath, my pace was mainly affected by the management of my calves.
Parking – It was a one and a half hour drive to the race. Roads were quiet as it was early. There was no need for additional race direction signs, as Cragside is a popular tourist attraction, so there are plenty of signs. Once we got to the site, there were 2 marshals waving you through. This seemed a little unnecessary, as the car parks are ample and well sign posted. However there should have been more marshals in the car park area directing people. As the parking was a little haphazard by people.
Registration – Registration was between 8 and 9am. The registration tent was easy to spot, and there were different tables split alphabetically by surnames. So registration was really quick.
Start Line – The start line was just over a 1 km walk from the start, on the same route as the race so you ran the same 1k stretch at the beginning and at the end. This was a little too far from the race head quarters in my opinion. Especially at how big the Cragside grounds are, I would have expected a route could have been established where the start and finish lines were close together, with no repetition. Although I am guessing the Cragside estate must have put some restrictions on what areas they could use. The start line itself was pretty narrow, however they had clear signs showing you where you should stand in relation to your predicted time.
The Race – It was a tight start as mentioned, and a pretty steep downhill for the first 1k. I am transitioning into barefoot running, and I find steep downhills really hard on my calves and technique. So I took it really easy. As you passed what would be the finish line, it levelled out a bit for the next couple of km. Which included running through the court yard of the house, which was nice. Then the hard yards began. It seemed like the next 5km was mainly uphill. There were a lot of people walking. This actually turned out to be the section I was most proud of. I never walked once, and in fact I was over taking a lot of the runners too. I really felt good aerobically, even though it was still obviously hard. Then the last 2km were on a pretty serious downhill. This was when I struggled the most. I obviously fatigued my calves on the up hill section, and they were really sore on the downhill towards the finish. I had the aerobic capacity and energy to go much faster on the last 2km. However I knew if I did, there was a high risk of picking up a calf injury. This was not worth the extra couple of minutes I could have shaved off my time.
Conclusion – A nice event, and I will certainly do other Run Nation events again. Although it will be unlikely I will do the Cragside 10k again. As there are a lot of other 10k’s available in the North East. The route was pretty and scenic, however you tend to not appreciate it fully when you are running as you get into a zone. However I will definitely go back to Cragside to walk around the grounds, and visit the house.
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