There are two local races that I kept on hearing about, the Cabbage Patch 10 Miler and the Turks Head 10km. I’ve run the Cabbage Patch (you can read about it here) and I liked it so much, I’m running it again this year. So when a friend said she had 10 places for the Turks Head and if we joined her Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) charity team (find out more about the RDA here) we could run, I jumped at the chance, not only to help a friend out and raise money for a worthwhile cause, but also to do one of the must-do local races.
Training plan out the window
I diligently researched training plans for a sub 50 minute 10km, and felt like I knew which key work outs I wanted to hit, including:
- 6x 1 mile repeats at goal race pace
- 3 x 2 mile repeats at goal race pace
But I can admit to you that I never did either of these workouts. I was still feeling a little burned out after the Brighton Marathon (read all about it here) and I just couldn’t motivate myself to do these sessions. That being said, I still got plenty of runs in, averaging around 15-20 miles a week, a few pacey ParkRuns and some challenging run commutes home!
So, although the training plan was out the window, I didn’t feel underprepared. The main issue was that on the day before the race, I was at a wedding, alone with the boys. So, while I wasn’t hungover on race day, I was very tired from having to be uber diligent, swivel-head, eyes everywhere, mum, who also had an almost 4 hour journey home on the train from Henley-on-Thames to Teddington (love train delays…not).
So, as my friend was setting up her RDA tent and stand at the event village early in the morning, I offered to look after her little boy Woody. So while she was getting the dotty the pony set up on site, I was watching The Wizard of Oz, which was pretty nice to watch such a gem of an old movie. Anyways, it was a great race distraction.
We had our race packs posted out in advance, including race number and instruction sheet. I love getting the race number early, so that I can pin it on my shirt in an un-hurried manner, as whenever I have to do it on the fly, at an event, it ends up in the wrong position or very lopsided.
The race village was easy to get to from Teddington. I rode my bike, but even if I had taken the bus, it was very easy to find, next to the river near Orleans House. I want to give a shout out not only to the RDA, which got lots of attention by bringing the lovely Dotty the pony, but also Zabras who were next to us.
What a great charity, that gives pre-owned bras to women who can’t afford their own. I was kicking myself that I forgot to bring some old bras down to donate. I’m never going to use the DD bras again now that my boobies have shrunk, and I’d much rather if someone else can get use out of them. I read a little while ago about how women in underdeveloped countries who wear bras, are less likely to be raped and attacked. I was tempted to tell my husband to bring some bras down to donate, but I was fearful he might grab the good ones! If you want to learn more about Zabras click here.
So we did a big group photo, and then lots of photos for the sponsors and charities involved in the event.
The Main Event
We funnelled to the start area, which took up the whole width of the road, and pavements, and off we set. It was quite crowded, and you were forced to just jog along at the same pace as everyone else, there was no weaving in and out, it was just that packed in. But it didn’t really matter, as there are no timing chips, and this isn’t a race that gives you a time.
Then it started to spread out a little bit, and we ran from twickenham down Cross Deep Road to Teddington lock. I thought I spied @kathy_running_late running the other direction on the other side of the road on her Sunday run, and I was right! The whole course is very familiar to me (as I run this route – or a variation of this route quite often), all the runners were friendly, and the supporters were lovely.
After we crossed Teddington lock, we ran up to Richmond on the tow path, which with the new surface, feels so nice (it used to be a real muddy bog-fest). I passed a few of my fellow RDA runners by this point, my tiredness wearing off, and I thought I might give this run some welly. I knew that sub 50 was out of reach (due to my slower start), but sub 55, was definitely on the cards, and I enjoyed pushing past runners on crossing over Richmond bridge and on the home stretch back down to Twickenham.
I finished 51:15, which I was super happy with. I was the first RDA runner in, and even though my husband and boys missed me come in, we happily hung around the event village, playing with Dotty, chatting to people. Eben became obsessed with running the finishing loop and even made it into the official race photos. The goodie bag was great, including a medal, water bottle (which I love), all manner of snacks, and a white t-shirt. I got a large for Brian, as I often don’t wear the race t-shirts, and he always says I should get his size, instead of mine.
If you are based near Twickenham, I highly recommend booking your place in the Turks Head 10 km run. It is a fun local race with lots of spirit. It doesn’t matter that there is no timing chip, it’s just a lovely route, with lovely people.
If you are based further afield, keep your eye out for local races to sign up for. Don’t be put off if there is no medal, or timing chip, the community spirit and people you meet will more than make up for it!