Sandy 10 – 2017

‘Have you ever run the Sandy 10?’ Susan asked me on a cold February Sunday, I looked at her, wondering if this was one of those loaded questions that mothers usually ask. ‘No, I haven’t’ I replied. ‘I think we should run it’ she responded. I raised my eye brow and gave her the ‘do-you-think-that-is-a-good-idea’ look.

Fast forward to the end of March and to mother’s day, which dawned very sunny with a chilly wind, when we found our selves driving over to Sandy. Susan was busy plotting her race strategy, working out if she was wearing the right kit and I was feeling like I had lost far more than an hour’s sleep.

We arrived in good time and had a good look at the race route, with Richard Inchley providing us with details of the race, (huge hill at mile 1.5, which keeps going after it flattens it goes up again).

Susan was working out her pacing, which had to be less than 13 min miles to finish under the cut off and I was trying to remember the last 10 mile race I had run. I knew my PB was 1:30 and I was wondering how close I would get to that in heavy training. Susan has been training hard for the MK half and her aim was to finish under the 2hr 10 min cut off and complete the 10 miles.

Susan and I walked to the start line and spotted Andrea Meek, Glen Turner and Richard in LBAC vests. ‘Don’t forget to start your Garmin, check it at every mile, don’t go off to fast, have you got your glucose tablets?’ I fired off instructions and questions at Susan and smiled to myself that it wasn’t so long ago that she was asking them of me ‘ Where is your PE kit? Have you got your Cookery basket? Where is your tie?’ how the tables turn!

The race started and off we went. The start isn’t all that inspiring, running through an industrial estate and then a housing estate, hitting mile 1 the route started to climb and I eyed the hill in front of me. I am not a big fan of hills, however what goes up must come down, and so I was looking forward to the end. The second mile was up, up and more up along a country road, before joining a main road, helpfully marshalled by a police car and a couple of officers. As someone who has managed to get run over in several races by impatient drivers I was really pleased to see this!

Mile three took us into a village and to the first water station. My heart sank when I saw the water bottles, not a sports cap in sight and the lids had been removed.  I hadn’t told Susan to pour the top third away and drink the rest, to prevent her spilling it and drink enough to stay hydrated. I was boiling by this stage the sun was starting to get really hot and I could feel myself burning. Susan had given me some of her glucose tablets to try in preparation for the marathon. I can’t have gels or sports drink as I discovered one year at Willen Lake. With a drink in my hand I popped glucose in my mouth. They are sticky and fairly disgusting but more tolerable than anything else I have had.

Around mile 4 my legs started to speed up and I lay the blame squarely at Susan’s ‘Rocket fuel’ I felt like I had borrowed Elliot ‘I have the legs of a Cheetah’ Hind. The leaders of the race were going in the other direction and I had only got to mile 4! I started to go past people and thought to myself ‘this is going to end very badly’. I hit mile 5 just outside my PB pace for a 5 mile race and was pondering to how this race might end. I focused on picking people off one by one.  At mile 6 I was still feeling strong and I knew another water station was at 7 so I had another ‘Rocket Fuel’ tablet and it was just as sticky and sweet as the first one. The sun was beating down now and I was getting more and more sunburnt.

Mile 7 the route is back on the main road back to the start, with a downhill incline and I was sailing down the hill, I do love gravity on races like this one. I grabbed another bottle of water and poured the top third away before trying not to glug down the rest of it. I was still steadily picking people off and looking at my watch I was well inside my PB, could I go 1:26?

Mile 8 is the steep downhill through the wooded area and I was grateful to be out of the sunshine, I knew I was burnt to a crisp. I was looking forward to the end by this stage and I was trying to work out if my legs were going to fall off and I would be left walking or if I would make it over the line. I was focused on going past people but the marshals were adamant I had to be on the pavement. As I stepped back onto the pavement the runner in front stopped dead and I clattered into the back of her. I really hate it when people stop without warning, especially as I was breathing heavily and she must have known I was there.

I managed to get my head back together in about 20 seconds and started to hunt for the finish which really is not obvious at all. You run back through the industrial estate and then take a hard left onto some grass and down a finish funnel.  I sprinted to the finish and my watch stopped at 1:27:03. At least a 3 Min PB but not the 1:26 I was hoping for. I collected my T shirt and then grabbed a bottle of water and went off to find Susan.

I ran back to the 9 mile marker and Susan was just hitting 9 miles, she looked pretty good, slightly hot and bothered, but no sign that she wanted to bury me under a patio as a mother’s day gift. I handed her a fresh bottle of water with a cap and tried to run just in front of her to encourage her.

I looked at my watch and I calculated that she could finish in less than 2 hours.  As we turned the corner to the finish line she could see that the clock was 1:59 and counting and she sprinted towards the line. She finished in 1:59:18 not bad for someone who has never run that far before!

Most mother’s get presents and breakfast in bed for mothers day, Susan got a card, a race T shirt and a happy meal for lunch. Next year I have promised her a spa day!

All the LBAC runners ran really well and the girls outnumbered the boys! The beginners group is producing some sterling results in 2017.

Full results of the Sandy 10:

Glen Turner: 57:08                 7th

Richard Inchley: 1:26:24        218th

Kate Johnson: 1:27:02           234th

Andrea Meek 1:36:57             346th

Susan Johnson 1:59:18          414th