Fairlands Valley 3k Relays
By Annis Turner
As a newer and slower member of LBAC I often approach club races with a slight feeling of trepidation. So I nervously signed myself up to run 3km as part of our ladies’ team. The race takes place once a year at Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage, attracting many clubs from surrounding areas. Each runner must complete a 3km leg which is a scenic lap of the park. Ladies’ teams complete 3 legs whilst the men complete 5.
On what was luckily a nice evening, 8 dedicated runners travelled to Stevenage to take part in the race (Men’s Team: Elliot, Simon, Pete, Sam and Graham. Ladies Team: Annis, Lorraine and Fiona.) I had set myself two goals for the race: to beat my 1 mile PB (currently 8 minutes) and to finish the 3km leg in under 15 minutes (slightly risky goals considering I hadn’t run in a week). After getting lost on the way back from the toilet with Lorraine, I joined the runners at the start ready to run my leg of the race (the 1st leg). Having checked out the results from previous years I knew I wouldn’t be the slowest runner there so I felt slightly less nervous! I set off thinking that realistically I wouldn’t get my mile PB, however when I looked down at my watch to check my pace I saw the magical number 7. I started to push myself, knowing that if I kept up this pace, I could complete a mile in under 8 minutes. I stared at my watch as I approached the 1-mile mark, I was clearly huffing and puffing as another runner gave me some words of encouragement, to which I replied in excitement “I JUST BEAT MY MILE PB!” My watch read 7:55 but my PB euphoria soon disappeared when I realised I still had to finish the course with 0.8 miles left. The marshals and other runners (including a big cheer from Fiona) were really encouraging and the finish was soon in sight. I check my watch and I was still under 15 minutes so I decided to finish (what felt like) a sprint just to make sure. Based on individual times I finished 88th out of 143 ladies with a time of 14:46 which I was pretty happy with!
I made my way to watch the other LBAC runners cross the finish line and snap a few photos. There were some extremely impressive runners at the event and some really tough competition for our men’s team but LBAC put in an amazing performance. Our men’s team finished 5th overall with a total time of 49:21. An especially good effort from the men with Elliot, Simon and Pete all finishing the 3km leg in under 10 minutes and Sam and Graham finishing in under 11 minutes. Lorraine, Fiona and I finished 32nd out of 48 with a total time of 45:56 (we were very happy not to come last!)
This was a really enjoyable race where the team spirit really shone through. It was great to see all of the teams working together and cheering each other on. Oh and of course we finished with a nice cold pint in the pub! I will definitely be returning next year to beat my time and we can hopefully take more teams along.
After taking part in both this race and the EAL on 17th July I no longer have that feeling of trepidation about races and club events. I was so nervous about joining a running club, worried about being slower than others, but I have discovered that this does not matter one bit. Everyone is supportive and friendly whether you are slow, super speedy or somewhere in between! Wearing my LBAC vest for the first time I felt like a proper member of the club