I like racing on a Saturday. It makes so much more sense than racing on Sunday – it means I don't spend the weekend stressing about the run, and I can relax on Saturday night. Plus I can do a Sunday long run if I'm feeling that way inclined.
The Greater Springfield Run For Life is fairly small, and usually well organised. Usually. I was running with a friend (Clare), so we collected our race numbers quickly and headed out to warm up. I thought it was strange that there weren't any course markings, but it didn't seem significant at the time (this was about half an hour prior to race start). My legs were feeling fresh, and I did some leg swings and strides before heading to the start.
I was also feeling good, because I loved my outfit. NEON EVERYTHING!
We lined up at about 5 minutes to 8. They had signs up to try to get people to start in the correct position, which is great – but the way they enforced it was very strange. One of the organisers decided that all the kids needed to move back, and he actually went up to some (who would have been under 10), asked them their race times and then told them they were too slow to be at the front! Kids always go out crazy fast, so I don't really have a problem with them being close to the front. I just know to be extra careful about them ducking and weaving. Plus at the end of the day, our society will be better off if more kids participate, and have fun. Telling them that they're crap, and slow, will negatively affect their run. Doing this consistently will mean that some kids will never enjoy sport.
After this drama, they told us 5 min to race start. And then in 5 minutes, they told us another 2 min. This went on until about 8:30, at which time they told us “Bad news, we've had trouble with traffic control so it's going to be at least another 10 minutes until race start”.
Well, that didn't go over too well! I'd started chatting to a few people lined up near me, and a lot of them said they were only doing the race because they thought they'd be finished and back in their cars by 8:30. One girl was funny – I think she's a triathlete, and she was trialling different nutrition before this race because it was low key. She'd had caffeine 30 minutes before the race was supposed to start, so we were joking that she'd be coming down off the caffeine high by the time the race started!
After this final 10 minute announcement the crowd started to disperse. I think people were so sick of standing around waiting. I had to get home to go to the hairdresser, and Clare needed to catch a plane. She was right at the start (I was a couple rows back) so I went to have a chat to her when they called us back, and said they were going to start. It was very rushed, but at least we didn't need to wait any longer! After about 500m I fell int stride with someone I'd been chatting to at the start, and asked him what time he was aiming for. He said between 20 and 21 minutes, so I said I'd try to keep up with him. This pace was slightly slow (there were no km markers out but my watch said we did the first km in 4:20). So when he moved across to get a drink I pushed on.
Once we were getting close to the end, I started gaining on a young girl. I passed her with about 400m to go and gave her some encouragement, telling her that we were really close and to stay strong. As I'd hoped, with about 100m to go she accelerated and beat me across the line.
A couple minutes after we finished, the girl came up to me and shook my hand, telling me good race! It was pretty cute.
We didn't hang around after the race. I did another short run (just to make sure my watch ticked over to 5km – yes, I've turned into one of those people) and then we got out of there! Clare won the race but we didn't hang around for presentations. The weather was lovely, but we had more important things to do!
Finish time 21:38. Slower than 2 weeks previously but a more consistent race.