Races. Oh I’ve done a good few now, but they’ve all been road races. The Dream Trail was my first ever trail race, and boy was it hard!
I’ve been trying to run a race every month this year, and so far so good. For August I had just one weekend available to do it in – bank holiday weekend. I was originally looking at the Blackpool Illuminations one on Saturday 26th, in the evening time. Unfortunately (or fortunately really) that was the same day as the Challenge Cup final, and of course as my team were in it, we just had to go! Luckily I managed to find the Dream Trail 10k for the Sunday and so August had a run!
The Dream Trail was only around a 40 minute drive away from me, so I managed to get a bit of a lie in (with an 11am start!) and arrived just after 10. It was a small event compared to what I’ve done before, but very well organised and easy to find. They had a 5k race that started at 10, and I missed the start, but I did get to watch the first finishers come through at around 20 past I believe. Bloody fast! (And the winner of the 5k won the 10k too – what a guy!)
Starting With A Hill
When the 5k runners came back, I heard a few saying just how horrible the hill was. Oh yes. Hill. And we had to do the lap twice for the 10k. I’m used to a few hills in my races now, because my local area is just so damn hilly. Nothing could be worse than the Wigan Half hill… right? Still not recovered from that one.
Well. This race is definitely a contender. We hadn’t even run half a kilometre before that first hill hit us, and yeah it was tough. So tough. Thankfully getting to the top of a big hill means you’ve got a nice downhill section. I’d like to say that was it, but there were another two big hills maybe (and one that felt almost vertical!) and then so many other little hills. It was trail, I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised.
When A Race Doesn’t Go To Plan
Quite honestly, this race felt awful. I hadn’t prepared properly the day before since I’d been down in London watching rugby and it meant I hadn’t eaten properly. I was out of the house on the Saturday from 6:30am to 11:00pm, and I had slept for 5 hours that night before. I did manage a good 8 hours sleep on the Saturday night thanks to a later race start but yeah, my body just wasn’t rested enough.
Plus the hills killed me off. That said, I kept going (took a few walk breaks up the hills) and just plodded on. I wasn’t bothered about going for a PB anyway – that can be saved for next week at the Wigan 10k – so quite simply I was just happy to be out and getting around the course. The marshalls were all brilliant, offering support and direction. Same with spectators. It was quite busy around a lot of the course with people cheering and that always helps.
A Slow Finish
That last climb was so difficult, but once I’d hit the top I just put all my effort into giving a strong finish. Yeah that photo above, those tiny little flashes of colour you can see directly above the man in the striped top – that’s the last climb we had to do. Twice.
I completed the Dream Trail 10k in 68 minutes, so it’s definitely one of my slowest 10k races. In fact, the only one slower was my first ever 10k, in which I finished in 69 minutes! It was my first trail race though, so I’m not too upset by the timing. I was 144th, and 15th in my age category. Improve on it next year? Maybe.
After I’d finished (and demolished the cereal bar treat) I headed back up the first hill to get a closer view of the Dream statue. It’s strange. I actually thought that all the photos online had just been warped a little and not re-sized properly, but no it really is that thin.