The Richmond Park Hare & Hounds Relays was my first opportunity to sign up for a competitive event with the new club. The teams would be made of 4 people for the boys and 3 for the girls and each runner would cover about 5k. Easy run with some beautiful scenery right?
After the 1st track session (you remember, where I was trying not to vomit at back of the pack?!) I was a little worried about my time. However, I was promised a fun evening that was open to everyone and all you had to do was indicate your current 5k time when you signed up so they could match the teams accordingly.
I can’t remember the last time I ran a 5k so I took a punt with 23 mins assuming, if anything, I would be faster. Turns out that was a pretty good punt, I went through 5k on Saturday Nights’ race almost bang on 23 minutes and that was with 5k left to go so I was confident I hadn’t oversold myself.
I was excited, but nervous, not made any better by having to get a bus to the South side of Richmond Park, buses in London can be tricky if you don’t know where you’re going. Luckily I spied some fellow Chasers on the bus so I quickly made friends so we could all get lost together!
Richmond Park is stunning, even more so on a sunny evening in May. We arrived and set up camp near the start as more Chasers started to arrive. There were several local clubs involved, including the Sheen Shufflers where I finally got to meet fellow blogger and tweeter Cat Simpson (who is so speedy she came 3rd in the Richmond Marathon just 2 weeks after smashing the London Marathon!)
Naomi & Rob, who had done an awesome job of sorting out all the teams, gave me my race number and I met Jos & Ruth who made up my team. They both looked pretty fit and fast…I was pretty sure I was going to have to run until I felt like my heart was going to explode just so I didn’t embarrass them.
I was on the 3rd leg, not really what I wanted but, in hindsight, it was better than the 1st where everyone was on top of each other. Then they were off! Now, these are club runners, club runners are fast and the boys (and some of the girls) practically flew, I don’t think I could ride a bike that fast! The 2nd boy on the first lap was a Chaser, awesome work!
Jos put in a good run and was the 2nd girl Chaser to come through, a tap of the hand and Ruth was on her way. It was pretty chilly in the wind so I did a bit of jumping around trying to get my nerves under control, it’s only 3 miles, it would be fine.
Ruth was quick and she was the 1st girl Chaser through on the 2nd lap, ohhhhh the pressure! I know we’re not competing against each other but I still wanted to do a good job. She tapped my hand, wished me luck and I started moving my legs as fast as they would carry me. After about half a mile I reached the ‘feeling like I was about to have a heart attack’ phase so I knew I was on pace…
The course was well signposted which was helpful as I couldn’t see many people around at all. There were a few runners heading back the other way, I’m not quite sure what they were doing but they all gave me some encouragement which is always nice to hear!
It was obviously a trail run, and fairly hilly, so it was tough to keep a strong pace in places but it was a beautiful place to run, especially through the pond area. Somewhere towards the end I was overtaken by one of the girls from our club, she’s a pretty speedy mover so I wasn’t surprised, she shouted some encouragement and flew by. Unfortunately she pulled over to be sick for a few moments which meant I ended up finishing a few seconds before her. I felt bad, she ran the route about 2 minutes quicker than me so deserved to come in first.
Despite not wearing a club top, the Chasers recognised me and started cheering as I came through the finish, first Chasers team home for the girls!! I measured 2.75 miles on the Garmin and finished in 21.16, it wasn’t fast but it wasn’t bad and I didn’t feel like I’d let the team down. My first competition for the club and I had really enjoyed it!
Come on Chasers!
Final Result? We placed 14 of 37 (Ladies) and our fastest boys came in 3rd overall!