Hereford New Year's Day 10k 2008
This was, unsurprisingly, our first race of the year. I say "our" because once again I was still running side by side with Fran, who runs a fair bit slower than me when we're both fully fit (which I haven't been now for a year and a half).
Back in the Summer, I was reduced to walking the first three quarters of the Salisbury 54321 10k, then in December I was actually able to jog/walk around the Merthyr Mawr. Things are definitely on the up though, as by Jan 1st 2008 I was able to actually run the whole race at Fran's race pace.
The morning was cool and overcast - mist hanging low over the Wye valley brought a hush to the lanes, broken by the cheerful chatter of runners gathering at the rowing club in the heart of Hereford. As town centres go, Hereford's is pretty low key, and finding the club right in the middle of town was quick and easy. We lined up close to the river at a railway bridge which formed the start line - then it was under the bridge and immediately climbing on a residential street or two before we were in deepest Herefordshire countryside - a succession of almost traffic-free lanes winding up hill and down dale. We seemed to follow a fairly circular route - I passed at least one of the marshals twice (he recognised my NYC Marathon 1994 cap - had time to tell me he had one the same himself - is it really 13 years since I did that race?).
All in all the course was pretty testing with all its hills and bends, but as I wasn't striving for a time of any kind I was able to chill out and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Fran, meanwhile, was working hard and pushed at the finish to break one hour - failing narrowly by a few seconds. Seeing as her PB is 59 ish, that was a grand effort on such a mountainous course. The sun tried to show it's face once or twice, but never really made it, so we enjoyed the misty quiet for the whole hour of the race.
Race organisation was good and we were well looked after - there were plenty of familiar faces from Cardiff, and it was mostly a club crowd. Nice race - might get to run it "properly" next year, and Fran (who is improving all the time) might crack that hour.
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