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 finish.

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!

Working hard!

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.


Back Up Next

Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson