Never in a million years did I think I would ever earn 100 medals. It was never a goal, really, and was quite a surprise when I realised this figure would be reached during 2016.
The fact that medal number 100 would be an aircraft – when my surname is Plane – was the cherry on top and I was so excited to take part in the Spitfire 10K.
So on Saturday 3rd August I woke at 5:50am and drove to my colleague’s Sebastian’s house, who drove us the hour and a half to the Royal Air Force museum in Hendon, North West London. We arrived around 8am and managed to find a free parking spot right near the entrance, where parking inside was pay & display. We located the registration desk with ease, who pointed us in the direction of the pre-ordered t-shirt collection area. The bespoke technical tops were £8 and paid for when registering for the event online, but could also be purchased on the day for £10. I wore mine for the event along with black USA Pro lycra shorts under black Dri-Fit Nike shorts, and 1,000 Mile socks with Brooks Glycerin 14s. I had eaten an Indian take-way the night before (naughty!) which had consisted of Bombay potatoes and Tadka Dhal (lentils with garlic), and breakfast was a spinach and pine nut pasta pot with a banana.
The temperature was warm, dry and a little muggy, with a spot of early-morning sunshine and lack of breeze. All runners gathered in the large museum area and listened to a short, interesting speech from the manager and then from the race director. Approximately 400 of us were led outside to the starting area and set off just after 9am, leaving the grounds and running two laps around the outskirts. This included running around residential streets, which could be narrow at times but were largely empty. The terrain was mostly flat with one or two very short hills, and was well-marshalled with encouraging and motivating volunteers. There were two water points throughout the course handing out white plastic cups. There weren’t any toilets en route but there were plenty at the museum, and we didn’t encounter any queues.
I found the event tough, having not trained nearly as much as I should have, and struggled over the finish line with Seb at 1hr 3seconds; a full 6minutes slower than my personal best. Not the end of the world, and not a minute over the hour, so it could have been a lot worse!
A medal was hung around my neck by a friendly volunteer and we were encouraged to pick up water and brioche/bun-style cakes from tables nearby. The standard entry of a reasonable £22.50 also included an impressive bespoke PLANE medal!
I was relieved to finish and shocked at how difficult I had found the 6.2miles – a distance which I’m so used to! We went straight back to the car and sadly got stuck in 3hrs 40mins worth of motorway traffic which tarred the experience slightly, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed the day and am so glad I took part. I’d recommend this run to others and class it as very small but efficient, friendly and well-organised event.
My race calendar is now completely empty with no actual or virtual runs booked for the rest of the year, and I’m debating whether or not to add any, or end 2016 on 100 medals and have a rest until the New Year… Will keep you posted 🙂 Until next time! x