I had been looking forward to the Hatfield Broad Oak 10k for weeks. I hadn’t run this course before but was told by club members that it was all road and had potential for a PB. After my last PB effort a few weeks back this had been my next aim and attempt at getting close to it again. From the outset of the day travelling over the weather was perfect with a clear blue sky, sunshine and a light breeze in the air. I met up with my friend who lives in the village, he was also taking part and was his first organised 10k that he had signed up for.
The Hatfield Broad Oak 10k were the winners of the BARR (British Association of Road Races) award in 2012, which shows what a well organised and fantastic event this is. The event was also a sell out with 1500 entrants taking part some coming from as far afield as New Zealand and Barbados! This will be a definite in my race calendar for next year.
The race was due to start at 11 am so about 10.30 am we changed and headed down to the start area. Having a walk around i managed to catch up with quite a few runners from the Saffron Striders. After talking with the chairman Nigel Coates he didn’t think the club had much chance of ending up in the prizes such was the high standard of the entrants. That was saying a lot as we have a number of runners who can run sub 40 minutes and a few who regularly run around the 35 minute mark! We were soon at the start time and the race was started by the British hockey team player Chloe Rodgers who won bronze at last years Olympics.
The course winds its way around country roads that are closed to traffic. There are some hills throughout the course but none that i would say really kill the legs, mainly gentle inclines over a few hundred yards. The weather on the day ended up being really hot and i think this is what slowed me down a little. Had it have been slightly cooler i think i may have gotten closer to my PB. I resisted the urge to take on a drink in a bid to save a few seconds. Although i sometimes feel like taking on a drink over 10k or lower i have never bothered, you should really be plenty hydrated enough before the start for this distance. Due to the heat i felt a little slow through the middle section and didn’t want to push too hard and come to a grinding halt. I settled into a good and comfortable pace and waited until i saw the 8k marker and then began to pick up the pace again. I managed to finish quite strongly but left my sprint a bit late and didn’t pass anyone. Although i didn’t get any better than 43.27 set a few weeks back i did manage 44.10 which is still a great run and is my second fastest time.
Once the race was over i waited around near the finish for my friend. We then went and handed in our chips and collected our t-shirts. Over the past year i have had some lower left leg problems and have booked in for a sports massage with the sports injury clinic. They were at the 10k giving out free massages so thought it would be a good idea to take advantage. After going over my left calf muscle she found a point that was quite painful and set to work on pressing and massaging the area. If anyone thinks sports massages are nice and relaxing…think again! After having a conversation she said that i have quite large calves and thinks i may have compartment syndrome. This is where the muscle is too large for the sheath of skin it sits inside of and can cause inflammation and soreness. So apart from the regular stretching i do it will be a good idea from now on to get regular massages as finances allow.
I highly recommend this race to everyone! you should look it up and if time and cost permit seriously think about travelling over and taking part. You get to run all on road in a pretty village. The roads are closed to traffic. The pub does an amazing hog roast out on the street and there is also a village fete and flower show to coincide with the 10k. They have a 1 mile race for children under 15 as well. All in all one of the best 10k races i have entered over the past year.
Happy running, Baz.