Anabel Townhill reports from Newbury Racecourse
WAC’s 5k runners at Newbury
Saturday 17th October saw one of the first races since lockdown. At Newbury racecourse there was a half marathon, 10km and 5km race. One lap of the racecourse (and around a few stands and car park areas) was 5km, making it a very flat race with no hills, the path was mainly gravel. Many Covid measures were put in place, such as no spectators, social distancing/masks where appropriate, timing chips, starting one person at a time with a few seconds between runners. For the 10k there were two separate waves according to estimated race time to avoid too much overtaking.
The half marathon started at 10.00am, followed by the first wave of the 10km at 10.30am, with both my mum, Sarah, and sister, Harriett, in the group. They lined up in order of time and speed, mum starting in the sub-45mins and Harriett in the sub-53mins. All competitors had chips on their shoes meaning their timing only started when they crossed the line. Mum set off quickly at a pace of 4.18 and maintained that pace for most of the race, finishing at 43.20 minutes which saw her an age category winner (V50) and 8th female overall. Harriett set off a couple minutes later and recorded 50.06 minutes, making her 13th in her age category (senior women) and 31st female overall (of 117).
The 5km race started at 11.00am and there were three Wimborne AC runners competing at this distance – Grace Copeland, Holly Nixon and me. Grace has seen some really encouraging signs in recent weeks whilst training, so was very much up for this. Her target was to break her own club record for 5k. For a road race she’s previously recorded 17:34. In a parkrun she’s gone even quicker with 17:02. The aim therefore was to break into the 16:00s. A fine run from Grace meant it was mission accomplished and the WAC female club record now stands at 16:53 for a 5km race.
Holly’s Strava record shows that she has adapted to training during these strange times better than most, so was also travelling to Newbury with optimism. Her aim was to get as close to 19 minutes as she could. Holly was a little to enthusiastic off the start line and so her pacing wasn’t even. She claimed a new PB of 19:11 but there’s a feeling that a sub-19 time is within her grasp with careful race management.
I queued in the line in the sub-22mins category, and took off quickly at the start. I maintained a steady pace of 4.01 throughout the race and finished with a time of 20.05 minutes. This is almost two minutes quicker than my parkrun PB … but it was a little frustrating to be so close to breaking the 20 minutes barrier. Just like Harriett and Holly, a few seconds faster would have been even better! I was 14th in my age category (senior women) and 15th female overall.
All five of us had set new PBs. Overall it was a very successful and well-organized day.