I’ve always had a soft spot for the Beverley 10k. Back in 2009 when I first started running this was my first race. Back then I took my training seriously. Week after week I gradually built the distance until I was confident I could make the 6.2 miles. That confidence was shattered when I got overtaken by the guy in the Beverley Beaver mascot costume going uphill in the second mile, though I recovered enough to catch him some 3 miles later on the downhill back into town.
Fast forward 9 years and although I suppose I know a lot more about running and a lot more about myself running, confidence was not at a high. Now with a gorgeous (but very demanding) 13 month old at home, training had been somewhat erratic to say the least. This would be my third 10k since Zach was born and this was definitely the least prepared that I had been. So when I made my way to start line saying that I would just be happy to get round without embarrassing myself I genuinely meant it.
It’s been a few years since I did this race and the start seemed less organised than I remembered. I couldn’t see any of the timing boards along the start so hovered somewhere in the middle of the pack and waited for the start. Unless you’re out front the first kilometre is always a little stop-start as people jostle for position in narrow streets. I made a steady start, dodging the traffic and searching for space.
As the crowd thinned out I looked ahead and realised two things. 1) I had somehow ended up behind a group of Harriers that I thought I had started way in front of and 2) the new vests are much more visible and identifiable from the back than the old ones were. And this gave me an idea … I was going Harrier hunting.
And that’s what I did. For the next 6 miles my competitive edge took over and I shamelessly tracked, drafted behind and overtook as many red vests as I could. The tactic worked. Although I stole the odd glance at my watch, for the first time in years I forgot all about times and pacing and just ran. Before I knew it we were heading back into Beverley and into the final mile.
My biggest issue with this race is the finish – cobbles. Any kind of sprint at the end of a race leaves me running on wobbly Bambi legs as it is, so add multiple tiny trip hazards and there is serious risk of face planting the floor. Having said that by the time I could see the finish (and I swear they add an extra corner every year) I don’t think there was much chance of me executing a Mo Farah style kick anyway so I was fairly and squarely pipped to line by fellow Harrier Gary Robinson.
As we filed through the finish en route to medals, water and fruit he asked if I had any idea of the time we’d run. I knew a couple of the downhill kilometres had been ok so I was optimistically hoping for somewhere near 53:30. Turns out I did 51:43! It seems that even though my running schedule may have taken a hit, carrying around a 10kg toddler while squatting to pick up dropped teddies, discarded shoes and all other kinds of baby paraphernalia is actually excellent strength training. Who needs a gym membership, eh?