Blue Runnings

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

Washington Trail 10k 2016

on 10 May 2016

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I must admit 2016 is not sticking in my mind as being the best for races, but it must also be said that none of it has been down to the races and their organisers themselves! With the exception of the Cragside 10k, not a single one this year has gone to plan for me!

The plan for the Washington Trail, which J and I did last year so I did have some inclining as to what the route and terrain was going to be like, was the same as for Cragside – slow and steady and pootle round going steady regardless of terrain. The WT10k is a moderately hilly course. The problem with this came with the weather – a foggy morning which burnt off around about start time to give 20 degrees of baking sunshine. Heat. I hate heat. I hate doing anything in the heat. You could seriously bake a full English breakfast on my face after about a mile of trying to run in the summer. Ok, I may be exaggerating very slightly. Only slightly though. Point is, me + running + summer do not get along!

J may or may not have noticed, when we were prepping for the GNR last September, I didn’t really do many sociable runs leading up to and pretty much kept to myself. I didn’t go into it at the time but I was really struggling – 5k was a fight which was incredibly demoralising for someone who a few months before was getting comfortable with doing 10M on a weekend. I really worried about getting round. This summer, I’m a bit more prepared in knowing what to expect – I found it a lot harder going out in the summer, but actually was matching my previous Spring pace (even if it didn’t feel like it), and it meant I reaped the benefits when the temperature dropped again. Just gotta get through it to autumn again! A slightly sad countdown when it’s only May and summer’s just beginning…

Anyway, back to Washington we go. With the heat and the hills, I fell back on my olde favourite of walk the uphills and jog the flats and downhills to get round. I wasn’t really in the mood right from the offset, despite knowing the route’s one that would normally be right up my street – woodland, fields and riverside paths. I had this expectation I’d have been able to just head around this without any real problems, but it was not to be! To be honest, the vim for running hasn’t really been there since Kielder, though I feel I should be past the long-distance fatigue by now after a few weeks off and a fab holiday! Sadly I did nothing but eat on holiday and I could tell…felt rather heavy! Plod, plod, plod… salads and fruit for the rest of the month!

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The route wasn’t exactly the same as last year: the first loop had changed direction, and I can’t put my finger on exactly where the route changes were in the second loop as most of it was the same, but I definitely remember running up some steep mud banks last year and they weren’t there this year! Most of the paths were dry and in good order, some muddy stretches through the woods were the blessed shade (no breeze sadly!) had stopped it all drying out. Everything was excellently marked out with red and white tape, signs and there were lots of marshalls, and the route is conveniently laid out so you pass through a cross-roads clearing three times – where there’s water and jelly babies so you know you’re going to have plenty of opportunity for water breaks and sugar top-ups 🙂 Good if you decided in the fog you wouldn’t bother with a water bottle… I think I’m going to start needing to get into the habit of taking my water bladder with me for anything over 5k before long!

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The Trail Outlaw races this year are being sponsored by Scott, and you can tell they’ve got some backing because the swag has gone up – last year we got a cool Trail Outlaws buff thing and a generic series medal with a printed ribbon – nothing to complain about at all, but this year for the same entrance fee you got a decent running t-shirt specific to the race and race-specific engraved dogtags which are pretty cool!

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As it happens, though I may have got what I would class as a slow 10k time for me – 1hr17m, which when I did Kielder’s 10k last year in 1hr2m and that’s not flat either is a bit disappointing, I did knock 7 mins off last year’s time so I’ll take that! I actually find this course harder than Kielder, though the marshalls seemed to think it was about the same – I was wearing my Kielder 10k t-shirt from 2014 and several commented along the lines of “come on, it’s not as hard as Kielder!”. I beg to differ good sirs and madams!

This one stays on the hitlist for next year as it’s still a great race, even if I decide to leave my running brain at home I can’t fault the race itself for my bad mental training! Maybe we can knock another few minutes off in 2017?!

The GPS file for this race can be downloaded from Dropbox here:

GPX File Washington Trail 10k

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