Sunday 13th March saw the City of Salisbury Athletics & Running Club’s host their annual flagship event – The Salisbury 10 Mile Road Race – a popular date in the Hampshire Road Race League diary.
Predominately a picturesque course running north of Salisbury along the banks of the River Avon, with beautiful views of the Cathedral spire on the return leg – what more could you want from a Sunday morning run? Errrrr how about the Starting and Finishing line on the athletics track? Yes please!! Those of you who know me, know I love to encourage a good sprint to the end! Awooogah!
I signed up to this race without a second thought. I’d heard so much positive feedback following this event in previous years, yes there were a few hills (hence the scenic views) but team mates raved about the PB possibilities with a long final down hill stretch, I knew it was too good an opportunity and a challenge to miss out.
This Sunday in particular was a busy one in the FCRC diary, with so many other racing events in the calendar – such as the Larmer Tree 10k, Half Marathon & Marathon – but we still managed a full A & B Team for both ladies and gents, hurrah! We even saw the return of Ian “Daddy” Edwards in the racing line up, with the adorable baby Ava & Mummy Kirsty heading up our support crew!
It wasn’t until we piled out of the cars though that morning, that we realised it was surprisingly chilly in Salisbury – there was even a layer of fog hanging in the air, brrrrr….this posed the question every runner deliberates before a race; is today the day to layer up or to just man up and brave it? On this occasion I convinced myself that I am made of tougher stuff & kept to just my club vest! Oh er!
To our delight the registration desks were located in the local Fire Station so we huddled in the warmth until the last possible moment, unfortunately with not a single fireman in sight! There were however volunteers by the bucket load, in fact nearly 100 of them in total were out in force & I certainly felt their supportive presence, particularly out there on the course.
Cutting it rather fine, a few of us made a dash from the portaloos to join the start of the race, the sun was beginning to creep in and the fog was burning off. Within moments a sudden blast from the gun indicated we were off.
It wasn’t until I was perhaps two miles in that I noticed a female runner participating with a blade – how incredible I thought and what a remarkable vision of how strong willed us runners truly can be. I was in complete awe and any race nerves I had been harbouring immediately vanished. I felt grateful to run alongside this woman and amongst my supportive friends in these stunning surroundings – it felt good to be alive!! Moments like that are what sum up running for me, the sudden realisation of how magnificent the human body is, the staggering power of mind over matter and how utterly inspiring this world can be. Woooow….that all sounds rather new age and somewhat deep, even for me!!! Moving on…
The miles seemed to melt away just like the morning fog had – and it wasn’t long until Bex, Sara & I were creeping up to the half way mark when we came across a very knowledgeable gentleman who gave each of us a thorough gait analysis as he ran beside us! This got me thinking about my posture and technique which was certainly beneficial when then faced with the long awaited verticals challenges this course has to offer – the view are worth it though, I promise you.
Feeling strong and in good spirits we even took time to appreciate the wildlife that we spotted around the route. “No need for a lama its only another hill” I joked to my team mates. “Alpaca my bag!” Sara responded!
With grins still on our faces at mile 8, the views of the city began to open up completely and the magnificent Cathedral spire was in sight. This was it, the start of the downhill home stretch. In keeping with the tremendous support throughout the event, the organisers even displayed motivational posts in the last half mile of the race, which were the icing on the cake for me (besides the sight of my team mates chanting at the finishing line)! I particularly enjoyed “You may be sore today, but you’ll be stronger tomorrow”.
Salisbury 10, you are a firm favourite of mine, what with the company, the views, the weather & wildlife – I’ll be sure to enter this race again, so should you!