I did the Run Wales Runfest 10k last year and loved it. It’s still my 10k pb. This year I can’t really fit the race in (plus I’m avoiding PB courses whilst endurance building) but noticed that the Run Wales Rhyl 10 is pretty much the same route with a bit added on. Plus it started at 12 which is great for us non-drivers because I could get the train.

When I arrived at Rhyl it was freezing. Race HQ is right next to the Taste Academy cafe which I remembered had nice and under used toilets. I couldn’t eat or drink really so bought a bottle of water so that I could stay in the warmth. It turned out to be a great idea because I got to sit and chat to some lovely people from Ellesmere Port and Pudsey Pacers until I had to go out in the cold and warm up. It was so cold that I did the mile with my backpack on so that I didn’t have to give up my hoody and do bag check first.  The bag check was pretty straight forward and quick so it worked out well (I noticed that it was outside and didn’t think much of it but when i came back after the race they’d covered it with plastic to protect it from the rain.  Very nice people).  Just before the race started I saw some lovely tourist familiar faces and had a little chat. You can find kind smiling tourists where ever you go.

I didn’t honestly think I’d get a pb because I’d already done 40 miles during the week but I thought I might as well aim for one anyways.  I’d signed up to run daily for lent so i had to remember to run so that i’d still be able to run the next day rather than run full out. I planned to negative splits but started too fast so I thought as its flat I might as well get an idea of how far I can run around that pace on tired legs.  The last time I tried to stick to a fast pace I gave up and had to walk but I hadn’t walked in a race since October (I don’t count the cross country two days after Liverbird cos it was evil) so I thought I’d give it a go.

Before the first mile I came across Derek Ralphs who I knew a bit. We ended up running together and he seriously became my hero. He ran with me at my pace but kept me so distracted that I didn’t even think about stopping although his fear of the sea did make me think twice about running on a promenade with no sea and I’ll always remember our visit to the grottiest Pontins in the world fondly (he may not though cos I still have his £1.20 and he can out run me). He taught me a great trick too. As the sea was moving but we were on a long straight path I starting feeling like I was on a treadmill and the world was moving and not me, one of the many wonders of my movement disorder. Derek told me to focus on the horizon, simple really but it worked.


Original route


New Route

The course was changed quite a bit because of the weather as sandbags had to be put against a lot of the sea front because of the wind. We ended up leaving the promenade a couple of times and a hill (it was probably a lot less steep than it felt) was added at mile 7. Had I not had the lovely Derek with me at this point this is probably where I would have come undone but I was determined to stick with him. Poor guy, I’m surprised I didn’t drive him to sprint the final three miles. I recovered after half a mile and then pretty much kept a 9:30/mile pace and even got faster in the last mile.  I have no idea where the sprint finish came from. The clock was going to 1:36 just before I crossed the line so knew I was very close to my pb time of 1:36:07.  I was pretty chuffed to be even close to it but turns out I was actually under it and my official time was 1:35:33.  Without Derek I don’t think I would have done it because my head would have got in the way.  Having someone else to run with makes you forget all the self doubt and mind games and makes you realise have you are far more capable than you give yourself credit for.

I came 330 out of 462 people which isn’t that bad really.  I was around halfway in both gender and vet category so really when i stop doing all these crazy distances and tired leg training I should be able to kick a bit more ass at the longer distances where I’ve never really been any where near where I should be compared to my shorter distance times.  I really enjoyed the day, fabulous people, lovely medal and even the cotton t-shirt was nice.