Ring the bells!! Deck the halls!!
We finally have a race report which wasn’t written a long time ago (although in current times, even just a couple of days seems an eternity).
Many thanks to Cees van der Land for his 10K report.
If anyone has a report they’d like to share, either from the real world or virtual, simply send it here.
Allendale Chimneys 10K
Saturday, 2nd May 2020
Report by Cees van der land
Saturday the 3rd of May was the inaugural Allendale Chimneys 10k and as this race is very local to me, I figured I would write a race report. Obviously I was very excited to finally have a PB course 10k race (my favourite race distance) in the Allen Valleys, so as soon as I found out about this event (about 3 days before) I signed up. It is a very reasonable prized event, organised by a small team of local volunteers, including a TBH member. The race finishes quite literally on my doorstep, so I was looking to a nice cold beer from my own fridge shortly after the finish.
Unfortunately this turned out to be a bit more complicated, more on that later.
The route starts at the road towards Nenthead near the top of Blackhill at about 490m/1607ft elevation. After passing the chimneys of the old leadsmelt (hence the name of the race) the route then drops towards the river Allen at 7.2km (4.5 miles). A short climb into Allendale Town, a quick burst though the town square and again all the way downhill via Station road down to the football field. With a net drop of 290m/950ft this course is designed to PB! At least, that’s how it was advertised, it turned out that they had left a few uphills out the description…
Registration on race day went smoothly, as easy as starting your watch for a run. I drove up from our house next to the finish to the start. Plenty of parking space and free parking. After a quick toilet stop it turned out I was about 600m away from the startline and the race was starting soon. I didn’t stress too much as I was convinced the race wouldn’t start without me. As the startline was quite high up and exposed I noticed that most of the route into Allendale would have a headwind. As I was getting a bit cold I hoped the start would be soon. Very, very shortly after that the race started! I started right at the front, no need to use my elbows, there was plenty of space.
Right from the start it went downhill for about a km, so a quick start. Looking at my watch for that first km I immediately regretted my fast pace as I didn’t think I could sustain that for 10k. Km2 was slightly uphill and with the wind from the NW my pace dropped quite quickly, really started to regret my silly fast start now. Km 2 to 7 went by really fast, a bit too fast maybe, I don’t think it is recommended to run a 5k PB while doing a 10k. Towards the end of that long downhill section there was a very slight incline at 6.5km and I could feel that my legs were pretty much
gone. I knew the short(?) steep uphill was coming, so I tried to recover a little bit on the downhill section towards that. That hill was NOT short, it seemed to last forever and with an average gradient of 7% (max 14.5%) that completely took me out. The advertised “burst through the town square” felt like a slow drag. The course had flattened out a little bit, so I was trying to get some speed back, but got nothing left. I was looking forward to the “only downhill from here” section. Wait, what, why?!?! That is not a downhill, that is an uphill! Another uphill to take the last bit of energy from my legs. With about 2km to go I was done. I could see on my watch that a PB was still possible so I pushed on and even managed some sort of sprint at the end. Missed my PB by a second, not bad!
The finish line wasn’t very well indicated and there wasn’t much support out along the course either. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I saw km markers either. As mentioned before, I was looking forward to a nice post-race beer, but I completely forgot that my car was still parked at the start! As this race is local I would love to promote it, however, none of the race organisers had arranged transport back to the start for finishers, bad planning! This meant a nearly 4 mile slog uphill back to the car before I could drive back home.
Despite the hiccup at the end, I had a good race and I nice day out. If you’re thinking about doing this event (or ones organised by the same person) here is a short pro/con list:
Pro: Easy entry/sign-up procedure, really cheap (basically for free), excellent communication from the race organiser, plenty of parking at the start, not too crowded at the start, fast downhill course and great refreshments at the finish.
Cons: Not a lot of local support for the race, roads not closed (although not very busy), those sneaky uphills nobody told me about, no runners I knew to talk to (could have just been me), no km or mile markers along the route, finish area was not very festive, no medals or t-shirts (not expected at such a low prize).
Last but not least: A 4 MILE SLOG BACK TO THE START!!!