Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Thirsk Ten

on 22 March 2015

Today was my first attempt at a 10 mile race – first time running the distance at all, and first time in an official event. It’s also the first time I’ve been to an event that was organised by a running club rather than a racing organisation, and I was very impressed – Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers did a fantastic job planning and running a long road race that felt welcoming to all levels.

As expected, after the initial mad passing of many people at the start (passing me, not me passing them!) where I learned very quickly how to jog along with my elbows in so I didn’t cause too many injuries, the runners spaced out. Also as expected, I was near the back almost from the get-go! I set my pace more on my breathing than my speed or having any particular time in mind and pottered along at a comfortable jog. The route was gorgeous: the sun was shining, the roads were clear – the long road for the first few miles had been closed off to cars so I bimbled right down the middle, mainly just because I could! I realised when doing the 10km at Kielder last year and after the first 2km wondering if I’d actually make it round, that I just enjoy having my own space to enjoy the settings of a race – not running in a pack where my pace gets upset by mismatching people around me, getting pulled along at a rate I’m not comfortable with or feeling demoralised when starting to lag behind. I also quite enjoy just watching other runners; spotting the neutrals and pronators, different length strides, different breathing techniques, different gear. There were two wheelchair racers that I saw, one runner with a wheelchair passenger, a blind runner with a guide, large runners, small runners, short runners, tall runners, the speed demons and the steady plodders, all in a multitude of colours – pinks, blues, yellows and greens. The great thing about being at the back is seeing the colourful trail highlighting the route in front of you, it’s like a train of peacocks out on display! I think pretty much every type of runner must have been represented today!

The Thirsk Ten was a road race, but being in the Yorkshire countryside, much of it passed along fields and there was a great feeling of open space to just enjoy the sunshine (I’m dreading trying to run in August – I was just in a tech t-shirt and trousers today and was only just below uncomfortably warm) and listen to the quiet and enjoy the breezes. The only downside being that it’s fertiliser spreading time…so some of those nice deep breaths that runners love were a little fragrant! Either it wasn’t like that the whole way round, or I’d just filtered it out and got distracted by something else after a while!

I didn’t have any particular distance in mind for when I’d take my first walk break – I’ve been making myself go to a minimum of 5km before a breather when I’m out by myself, and I’ve been doing 6-8km with the Run England group, but I figured I’d just see how I felt and what went first – my legs or my lungs. As it happened, the pace I’d picked with my breathing being slow and steady just kept eating the miles up – I passed mile three, then mile six – making this the first time I’ve ever run 10km in one go without a stop – and on and on from there. The last half of the last mile was tough, but I made it round the full 10 miles without a walking stop! This is a major first for me – I’ve never made it close to this distance without giving my legs or lungs a break. I really enjoyed the full route too, Normally by about mile five I will be starting to look like a bit of a gasping wreck, but slowing down to just make sure I got round the distance as well as I could, I was still smiling by mile eight! Check out the pacing table at the bottom (click on it to enlarge) – the graph looks rather bumpy because the axis is so tight, but the list to the right with the pace and duration per km is probably the most even I’ve ever done! It slows down as I get more miles covered as you’d expect, but there’s only a variance of about 40 seconds, ignoring the first one where I got swept along a bit. I hit the 5km mark in about 31 mins – not far off par for me on a flat and I wasn’t pushing for it, and about 1hr 7mins for the 10km when I glanced at my watch – on a similar level to my best 10km time!

The double-back stretch from mile six to mile nine was another closed off country lane, with a curve to it for drainage to either side – I tried to stay near the middle as the camber was making my right foot start to rub on the side of my trainer – and I wasn’t stopping for it! Staying on the top of the hump helped flatten my foot out again, and I’ve only got the very start of blisters on the sides of the balls of both feet – which I suspect will be completely gone by Tuesday. I haven’t checked my trainers for dust-bunnies yet, I had the same feeling as before of the side of the insole rubbing, if the weather continues as it is I’ll be changing to my Asics ‘summer socks’ sooner than expected, but if I find another dust-bunny the Puma thick socks are being retired until it’s sub-zero again for all runs over 5km! I’ll still use them for work-outs and stuff, but just not for runs. I’d even specifically checked my insoles before I put my trainers on this morning not wanting to be caught by this again…I shall have to see if they pass inspection.

There were 1058 runners at this event! 1058!!! It certainly felt very busy at the start and registration, but I didn’t realise there were quite that many runners! I came in position 1028 on the chip timing with a final time of 1:53:26, which I’m really pleased with for a first stab – a long way off the 58 mins of the first female finisher though! When I crossed the finish line and slowed down to a walk, I really thought I was going to fall over – my knees felt like they’d been replaced with ball and socket joints and I really could not be held responsible for which way my legs went! I made it to the chip-removal station and then to the t-shirt area, sure I must look like a drunk sailor trying to walk on solid ground when he’s used to a swaying ship, that or a very very seasoned cowboy with that rolling gait horsefolk seem to get after a while. I picked up my finishers t-shirt and swayed and rolled my way back to the car to get my trainers off with a sigh of relief – clean socks and roomy snow boots are the best feeling after a run! Knowing how tight my legs got after Bamburgh when I got into the car without doing enough of a stretch, I walked all the way back to the finishing area to pop to the loo, then back to the car, all told probably another 2km walking before doing some stretches and then going to the train station at Thirsk to pick P up before we headed home. My right knee is starting to protest a bit, sitting is fine but it doesn’t like stairs. I’ll see how it is tomorrow and maybe go out with group 2 of Run England on Tuesday if I think it’s up to it. I don’t think I’ve done any lasting damage, it’s not sore, just a touch uncomfortable, but I’ll play it safe anyway. 3 hours driving and 2 hours running today – I shall sleep like the dead tonight!


I really enjoyed this event, and it’ll definitely be one I’m on the look out for next year – a very friendly course and the marshalling and management – of both runners and traffic was excellent.

5 star


You can download the GPX data for this race from my Dropbox account by following the link below:

GPX data on Dropbox


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