Monday, February 17, 2014

Wimbledon Common Dash for the Splash 10km race review

We’ve all seen that bit in a BBC wildlife documentary where the herds of wildebeest frantically scrabble their way down a steep river side, before wading across and emerging on the other side, unless the crocodiles get them.

Well, on Sunday at about 930, on a cold, hard but bright morning, I and 199 hardy soles went through our own river crossing on Wimbledon common. Down a slippery mud bank, through 2 feet of freezing water, and up the other side. Feet sodden, socks soaked through, and still 9.5km of hard, muddy, slippery running ahead. Brilliant.

The Dash for the Splash 10km was my first race for over two years, which is appalling, but it was certainly one to remember. The course not only involved the above water crossing, but numerous sections filled with grey, gloopy mud that weighed you down and long rising hills that dried your feet out. Then there was a middle section where we ran through saturated common ground, filled with water from the recent storms, forcing you knee-deep in freezing water to find the path again.  

As such it wasn’t a course for a personal best but a time of 45 minutes and 31 seconds was one I was very happy with. It would have been quicker but for the fact the final kilometre was on unbelievably slippery grass across a playing field.

I was overtaken by about five runners in spikes, while my old trainers (thankfully chosen over my shiny, clean news ones) just failed to gain any traction at all, forcing me to run like Bambi and focus more on staying upright than putting in a hard kick for the finish.

Still, even losing those places I came 37th, which wasn’t too bad. Now, the next time I do a 10km (possibly next weekend) the lack of mud, water and river crossings should make it seem a doddle.