Stephen's first race: Clapham Common 10k
7 September 2008
Stephen is in training for the
Royal Parks Half
Marathon on 12 October, and to give some small experience of what it
might be like, decided to enter a ten-kilometre race on Clapham Common.
It poured with rain all the time we were driving there, but the rain stopped around 9am, though
leaving the course (which is half grass) rather damp and muddy. The course
consists of three circuits of just over 3km, plus an extra bit into the
Looking back across the start line to the bandstand on Clapham Common
Me with my race number
Group warm-up (me centre-right)
The woman leading the warm-up, with me below her knee
The start - new runners were asked to start towards the back. I took
this literally, and it took 42 seconds to reach the start line, but was
immediately frustrated by the slow pace and started overtaking people,
leading Lucy to miss me on the first pass
No longer at the back
Number 342 near the start of his second lap. Although the parts of the
course on grass were very damp, it wasn't as muddy or slippery as I'd
feared. Most of the runners with me towards the back seemed frightened
of any water whereas I took the shortest route and kept gaining on
people as a result. With three laps of just over 3km each, it was
mildly demoralising (even if I knew it would happen) being lapped about
half way round the second lap, but in fact there were relatively few of
those people coming past.
Lucy (centre-left) watches the runners go by.
Overtaking like mad on the third circuit. I was a little worried that I
was going too fast, something that I'd been warned was a risk for a
newbie in a race, and I knew I was
going faster than in training, but I felt strong, and continued
gradually to accelerate after half way and overtake more. And in the
last 1.5km I found I could just go faster and faster: no-one else seemed
to be accelerating, so I overtook a lot of tiring people. Of course
starting from the back I was bound to overtake people unless I came
last, but it was still a wonderful feeling!
Safely across the finish line in 55:11, knocking two minutes off his
personal best, finishing 234th out of 358 - about 2/3 of the way down
the list. Fifty-two minutes would have been enough to see me into the
top half, and that seems doable eventually. Given that I was last across
the start line, I overtook about 120 people during the race!
First running medal
And in the fetching pink t-shirt presented at the end of the race
Milling crowds before we head back home. A great morning.