It’s All About The Preparation
by Jo Sharples
The Leighton Fun Runners Leighton 10k was held on the 8th April 2018. Lasts years race saw us narrowly miss the team prize due to numbers entered. So a couple of us decided this year to try again. The online entry stated 10 for a team. Well this was our first hurdle. Could we find 10 available non injured runners? In desperation we even got Adam Haylock (returning from retirement) and Sam Dear (returning from injury) as part of the team. After a few last minute swaps, we had a solid team of 13 on the day. Including; Billy Mead, Stuart Read, Matthew Brooks, Sam Dear, Dan Webb, David Killick, Stuart Dimmock, myself, Amy Farnfield, Fiona Mcleish Ruth Mitchell, Kas Gardiner and Liz Miller.
However, on the day we arrived at Vandyke School to a sorry looking team. Sam and I had been at a friend’s wedding the previous day and were not looking bright eyed, David has confessed to have liquid carb loaded the previous evening, and Kas said “I seem to have left everything at home except for what I’m wearing”. Things were not looking good. In fact the only one ready and raring to go was Billy who had uncharacteristically had an alcohol-free early night.
Well here went nothing.
We set off, I had thought I’d try to stick with Matthew but he soon zoomed off into the distance. I spent the first 2 miles with Dan cruising along not feeling too bad, thinking I may see Sam at some point. Half way saw the lovely incline up Eastern Way which I find the hardest part of the course, as especially on a windy day it is so unforgiving. I tried not to look at my watch as I knew I was not feeling my best, but similarly I felt like I had lost too much pace to this horrible hill. I could also just about see Matthew now as we started the descent into Heath and Reach. “You are first lady” someone cheered. Not knowing how close the next lady was I thought, if I can survive Shenley Hill I have this.
I always dread and love that moment when you turn to see Shenley Hill for the first time. Because it means a combination of nearing the finish line and absolute pain.
Just keep going!
I got to the top of Shenley Hill and was spent, and very, very, very nearly had to make a sick stop. With the taste of tequila now in my mouth I tried to push on.
1km to go… “Keep pushing Jo” I heard someone shout. I knew whose voice that was. Sam had caught me up. We ran the last half mile pretty much together and turned down the finishing straight to enter a sprint finish. And we can guess who won that… But in the actual race I had finished first lady! And not far off my PB which I was thrilled about.
The whole team did really well, Billy was first home in 4th place (35.35), then Stuart Read (37.30), Adam Haylock (40.08), Matthew Brooks (41.43) Sam Dear (41.59), Jo Sharples (42.02), Dan Webb (44.34), David Killick (45.11), Amy Farnfield (45.37), Stuart Dimmock (45.52), Ruth Mitchell (47.45), Fiona Mcleish (49.10), Kas Gardner (52.39), and Liz Miller (1.03.11)
The real question was did we win the team prize? You bet we did- there is no better team around.