Over the weekend, I decided to take part in the Notfast 10k in Newark. I am currently marathon training and this was my first race since having pneumonia last year. The Notfast 10k is organised by Notfast Running Club and needless to say, I took the “Notfast” aspect very seriously indeed.
I had about 8 miles to do on the plan over the weekend and I opted for junior parkrun with Rose in Newark, followed by a quick drive over to Newark Rugby Club, the start and finish point of the race. This would give me 12km (about 7.5 miles) – close enough to the plan, especially with a 10k race.
The organisation of the Notfast 10k is excellent. I am a pre-race faffer and the last thing I wanted to do was to arrive at race headquarters with only 20 minutes to pin on my number, go to the toilet and generally get stressed out. The organisers were setting up from about 8am and I was able to pop in and grab my race number (230) before nipping over to parkrun with Rose. Safety pins were provided much to my eternal relief (I never have enough safety pins on race day) and even better than that, holes were punched into the race numbers. I’m sure I can’t be the only runner who finds pinning a race bib fiddly and irritating, so the holes made life easier. Who would have thought that holes could provide so much joy?
Don’t answer that.
I had forgotten to pick up a cap to run in, a big mistake on such a hot and sunny day. Luckily for me, a local running shop had set up a stall and I was able to pick up a Hoka One One visor for £5. Other facilities included toilets, changing rooms, showers, bar, ice-cream van, comfy seats and plenty of cake. I got chatting to a lady who had been at junior parkrun with her daughter and it was soon time to start. We started on the rugby field, running around the outside and out onto the main road where the single lap course took us around the village of Kelham.
I didn’t have any great expectations of running well in this event. Having suffered with heat exhaustion the week before, I just wanted to take it easy, do the mileage and enjoy the run. I’m not a great hot weather runner, so getting round in one piece was my ultimate goal. The first kilometre was run along a busier road and many drivers got in the spirit of the event, honking their horns and waving as we ran past on the pavement on our way to the village down the road. The first water station popped up at 2km to my eternal relief as I was already regretting the decision not to carry a bottle with me. Refreshed, I was back on my way and following runners down a quiet country road, torn between enjoying the beautiful weather and wishing that it wasn’t quite so hot.
The next water station came just past 5k and I was starting to feel really hot, although I was still enjoying the run and was satisfied with my pace. It had been flat up to then, the other runners friendly and the marshals were great. Then, approaching 6k, there was “the hill”. It was described as gentle, but it felt tough to me. I suspect the heat and my general dislike for hills led it to feel much worse than it actually was and I walked up it, losing time. The sponge station at the top was a welcome sight and I gratefully sponged myself with cold water – thank you! Feeling refreshed, I took to the downhill with a spring in my step, enjoying the quiet road as I recovered on the downhill back towards the village.
However, the joy of the downhill was short-lived and I was soon cooking again. As I started the last mile, I adopted a walk/run technique. Did I mention I was hot? Way too hot?
Soon the rugby club was in sight and as we turned into the entrance, it was just a short 50m across the grass to the finish line. I waved at Jimmy and Rose and happily collected my medal, water and a very welcome flapjack.
My chip time for this event was 1:09:49 (I said I was taking the Notfast bit very seriously), a little slower than perhaps I would have liked and on a cooler day, I probably should have been around the 1:05 mark. But it’s a time I’m satisfied with on such a hot day and I enjoyed the run and post-race pint, even if I did leave puddles of sweat everywhere.
I really enjoyed the Notfast 10k. At a cost of £19.50 (£17.50 affiliated) it was well organised, friendly, suitable for all abilities and provided great cake. On a cooler day, I suspect the course is PB friendly. What more do you want from an event?
Now, who wants to join me for a rain dance?