I was essentially in the forth batch of 10 runners so I set off just one minute after the lead group and I quickly (or slowly) let the others get into their running.
It was a beautiful day, perfect for running, and was happy to ease my way round the first 5K. As it happened I fell into a natural six minute kilometre pace which suited me fine. The course was great over tarmac apart from a few miniscule sections across grass and tracks with just a few rolling hills.
As I started the final 1K I began to struggle a little and I said: ‘The second run will be hard.’ At that very moment I corrected myself and began to chant: ‘Easy…Easy…Easy…’ in a rhythm that naturally brought about a lengthening of the stride. It’s a good tip to use in any stressful situation.
4.8K run with a climb of 32m – 00:31:01 (451st)
Just after the 30 minutes had passed I was back in the main arena and into the transition area. It was tempting to start walking but this was a race so I jogged round to my allocated position to collect the bike. I put on my helmet, had a swig of drink and was away again.
Quite rightly, you are not allowed to cycle in the transition area so I had another jog to the road for the cycle course which took a clockwise route as opposed to the anti-clockwise direction of the run.
Transition from run to bike section – 00:02:31 (335th)
Once on the road it was an absolute joy! For the first couple of kilometres it just sailed by but soon I was looking adjust the gears for an incline. That passed without incident but I couldn’t see how change back up again. For one terrible moment I was worried I’d have do all 10K in first gear!
Fortunately, after a few random pressings of plastic another lever presented itself and I could relax again but not for long.
After about 4K a very steep climb began and it held a great many of us up with some even having to get off and walk. I managed to keep going and was pleased to sail down the other side.
The cycle route was just awesome. I had no idea Richmond Park was so big and I demand you go there at once. Towards the end I was treated with a great view across London where you could see the landmark of the Telecom Tower. It was a little hazy but there was no mistaking it – on a clear day it must be fabulous.
The final section was relatively down hill so I was able to free-wheel at speeds up to 30mph on occasions but a mini-roundabout put a stop to that.
By now my thighs were beginning to ache as it was apparent that my seat was still a bit high for me. I still pushed on keen to break the 30 minute barrier for cycling leg of the race.
10.7K cycle with a climb of 112m – 00:29:12 (375th)
I did it and what’s more, because I was lucky enough to have a bike spot in what was the elite athletes section from the morning event I was able to rack up, have a drink and be out in just 46 seconds.
Transition from bike to run section – 00:00:46 (106th) – faster than the event winner!
The final 5K started off badly as the strain on my thighs from the bike leg came back to haunt me. I was still running but my stride length was tiny and people were streaming past me.
I took the decision to walk to allow me to stretch those muscles and as mad as it seemed I was able to up my pace!
Between 1K and 3.5K I will admit that I half-ran and half-walked but I never gave up. I was determined to break 1:45 and to ensure I did so I ran the final 1.5K and was delighted to cross the line in a time of 1:41:51.
4.8K run with a climb of 32m – 00:38:23 (517th)
It was far from quick and I only beat 20 people over the second run but considering the hit and miss training and lack of bike work I was well chuffed.
Overall Time – 01:41:51
Finishing Position – 477th out of 538
The time tells me that with some more sensible planning, a better fitness and training program and a bike that was adjusted to my size I could surely break 1:30 and I’m determined to be back next year to do just that.
This was a great event which, apart from a couple of minor niggles, was extremely well organised, over a great course in wonderful surroundings. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to anyone.
Why not join me for next year’s race?