Always read the small print when you enter races, folks. When I found a half marathon around the right time, and saw it was a 13-and-a-bit lap of part of the Olympic Park, I thought “Oh well, that’ll be flat as a pancake …”. Really should have noticed it was the undulating one mile Velopark loop, with four small hills per lap, and constant exposure to a wind that apparently arrived direct from the Urals.
Still, it was a great race, in its own unique way – very well organised by the Run Through, who had their work cut out, with races at half marathon, 10 mile, 10k, 5k and mile distances going on at the same time – and with a fabulous medal. I’ve actually nominated Run Through for the “Consistently Best Medals” award in my own personal running Oscars, and I treasure the Womble-themed one I got for another of their races. No prizes for guessing where.
The fact that it the course was exactly a mile loop also helped me to pace myself, given I made the stupid mistake of leaving my Garmin at home. [Thankfully, I discovered the RunGap app which can export from Apple activities to Strava, because obviously if it wasn’t on Strava, it didn’t happen …] Fortunately it also turns out I can count to 13 – though the chip timing actually meant that the course recorded every mile split, so anyone who genuinely lost count could stop and ask the team by the start/finish. It was very nice to finish first lady, and subsequently be awarded a certificate that I reckon puts an Olympic gold medal in the shade. And I also discovered, when doing some miles after, than a lap of the outside of the Olympic stadium is almost exactly 1km. Handy, that.
A recovery pootle through Richmond Park yesterday and my weekend’s running was done. There’s a lot to be said for getting the big runs out of the way on a Saturday morning. But what did you lot get up to? And most importantly, have you all bookmarked this study – thank you to Helen who sent it to me by email – which shows that the incidence of arthritis in active marathoners is below that of the general US population. Call that bookmark “THE KNEE MYTH” and feel free to use as often as possible, with my blessing …