Stopsley 10 Miles
Sunday saw me take part in the Stopsley 10. Another race I’d not heard of until recently. It’s a small race organised by the Stopsley Striders based in Stopsley, Luton.
They have a 5 mile and a 10 mile option - it’s a five mile, off road, undulating loop. I opted for the 10 miles. Two laps.
I was feeling confident about this. I’ve had some good runs up to this point (see my previous posts - Three Tens and The Fourth Ten). I like off road running. I’m learning to love hills. My friend Beefy came with me. He’s in training for his first half marathon. He’s quicker than me, but we opted to run together as hopefully I can stick to a steady pace and he wanted to make sure he didn’t go off like a rocket!
A few other club members were running too. Beefy and I met them at the beginning. Took the obligatory club group shot and off we went.
The race starts on grass. I turned my ankle at the start. Annoying. Painful. I carried on and just ran through the pain. Probably not sensible.
So you do a loop on the grass before heading out onto the only road part of the course - it’s a quiet lane really. A steady incline which leads to a track. You then follow this track through fields. You turn when the marshals tell you to.
There are two - I’ll say big - hills on the loop. Although really they weren’t too bad. Beefy and I took them steady. He was quicker up them. “I just want them over with!” Once you’re up the first one, you turn around and go back down before heading to the next. The next hill is the worse. The incline increases slowly and then all of a sudden you’ve got this wall ahead of you. Tough tough climb. Again Beefy shot up it.
I was pleased I managed to run up both hills on the first loop. Once you’re up the second, you head back to the road towards the start, turn around and then off you go on your second lap.
The second lap seemed easier than the first some how. The only thing I could not manage was running up the second hill the second time. I did my best. Off Beefy went, getting it over with. I stayed steady going up, up, up. I was just reaching the crest of the hill and then AAARGH NO. I just couldn’t keep running up! Gutted. I didn’t stop, however, and just marched up the remainder of the hill, pumping my arms as much as I could. Carried on marching to catch my breath and then off I ran again to catch up with Beefy. We reached the road. It’s downhill now and hand in hand we crossed the finish line to the cheers of the LFR crew who’d waited for us. Wonderful people.
We were also cheered by the Stopsley Striders at the end and all the way round. It was such a lovely, friendly event. Any Striders running would say “well done” and “great running” to us as we went round. The marshals were friendly and enthusiastic (although one did promise us tea at the finish - there was no tea).
Good organisation and a wonderful route. The hills were challenging, but you feel like hero. The views running on the tracks was just incredible. I didn’t stop to take photos as I probably wouldn’t have been able to get going again!
It was just an all round great event. Well done, Stopsley!
Well done to Beefy. He smashed his first ever 10 miles Great preparation for his first half. I know he’s nervous, but I also know he’s going to do brilliantly.
Next up for me: Kimbolton Half Marathon