At the weekend, I completed the Runthrough Tatton 10km in a time of 41:37 and came 16th out of 549 participants. My aim was a sub 40 minute finish, and at best a push on my 10km PB. Not to be this time; but on reflection, this run was not about time at all.
Tatton Park, for those unfamiliar, is an incredibly large National Trust park, with vast areas of forestry and greenland, with lakes and the usual types of activities for families. It sprawls a significant area in Cheshire, and has everything for a great day out. I have been previously with my family and would highly recommend it.
I woke early in the morning at 5am; planning my own journey time to allow me to register in-time and settle into my usual pre-event routine, and having plenty of time to fuel. Gemma and Ethan would be joining me at the event, but were travelling separately to allow the a little longer to get ready. The event was due to start at 8.45am which is early in my experience so we thought better of us all heading out before 7am on a Sunday morning!
On arrival, I navigated through the road within the park and found that I was one of the early birds. I was keen to get my race number and familiarise myself with my surroundings and settle into my routine. The weather was beginning to warm considerably in comparison with the more recent weather and I sensed that it would be a Spring scorcher. I wasn't wrong!
As the crowd began the gather I had a wonder round and noticed a refreshment cabin; perfect! A pre-race brew! I began to head that way when I spotted a familiar face. The look was reciprocated and I realised that we have never actually met; but we were Twitter and Racecheck comrades; a fellow running dad, and in his white visor too!
I veered over and we introduced outrselves; Will, Kerry and their boy, Oscar, kpet me company and we chatted about our shared love of running and general get-to-know eachother talk. We were followed shortly after by another three running dads; Stu, Kev and Paul (also with Racecheck visor!). The online running dad community was having its first official race meet!
In all, we had around 20 minutes or so before we wished eachother luck and joined the other particpants and took our chosen places in the crowd. You see, we were together as a community, yet we had our own targets and plans and respected that we each would have our own way to attack the course. And oh how we did!
Just prior to setting off, Gemma and Ethan had just arrived and were there to wave me off. That topped it off; it really had been a great way to start the day and the race!
The race itself was one that I would highly recommend; a great, scenic route, plenty of space and not too crowded and whilst some inclines, not too many that would impact on a strong PB attempt. As I made my way around, I bumped into each of our running dads and offered some encouragement and I found myself feeling a sense of pride; knowing that these guys were part of our growing community and had taken the time to say hello and begin to forge a more personal connection, led me to be willing them on to achieve their goal. Whatever goal it was.
And so to the finish. I cam into the home-straight, with sweat pouring with the heat and the effort I was exerting, trying to hit the 40 mark. I glanced at my tracker and I edged over 41 minutes, however I really wasn't disappointed. I lifted my head and saw Gemma and Ethan, along with a couple of our running mums who had joined their partners for the event cheering the runners home. I had a little more in the tank for a sprint finish as I smiled and waved at my watching family and came home in 16th place.
Those are the moments folks. They are the ones that make it all worthwhile.
And so to the next one; meeting the folks was such a great experience and it really added a new and enjoyable dimension to my race experience. On to the next one; I wonder who will be there to join me at the Bolton Hill Marathon...