On Sunday 7 June I ran the Women’s Running Finsbury Park 10k race for the second time with my mum.
The Women’s Running series happen all across the country over the summer months. They have a nice atmosphere, they attract a real mix of abilities (from first timers to seasoned pros) and they have pacers to help you beat your PB. After running the Finsbury Park course last September my mum really wanted to run it again, hopefully staying injury free and beating her previous time. So we signed up and prepared.
This time my mum asked me to do her a training plan. So I looked at the various plans online and in the Women’s Running magazine and came up with a 10 week plan that fitted around her commitments and was hopefully challenging without causing any injury. I really enjoyed working out the plan for her, which included telling her to go to a Pilates class, even specifying the time and place.
I didn’t follow the same plan as I had decided to concentrate on my speed work for my 5k in July so the 10k race was going to be a ‘long run’ in my own training plan.
The day of the race had perfect weather. Warm but with a breeze. I had to get there early as my race number had been lost in the post. Collecting my number was fairly straight forward, apart from the person behind the desk almost re-registering my mum instead of me! That left us plenty of time to look around the little race ‘village’. There were a few stalls selling running clothes and shoes as well as face creams.
The events start off with an optional warm up and this year’s was much better than last time. Rather than high energy cardio the two instructors really concentrated on slowly warming up the key muscles, which included getting us down on the grass for some of the moves. As my mum has HMS she found the slower moves a lot easier to do. Last year’s warm up trapped a nerve in her foot which didn’t really go away over the race.
Once the warm up was over we went to the start line. We positioned ourselves between the 60 and 70 minute pacer as we were aiming for 65 minutes and we were off! The Women’s Running Finsbury Park 10k is a two lap course with two hills, one short and sharp, the other long and slow, but you have to do both hills twice. For the first lap we were going really strong. I had set my watch to a 10:25 pace and each mile we were running faster. We finished the first lap in good time and I really thought we’d have no trouble with the second lap.
Unfortunately, running up that long slow hill for the second time took its toll and my mum really felt it so we slowed down a little bit. She also started to get twinges in her feet, not good! However, we kept going and kept running. As we reached the final 400m my mum said she wouldn’t sprint it but as we got closer she got faster and I’m pretty sure she sprinted the last 20m!
We crossed the line within our target time of just under 66 minutes and beat her previous time by 2.5 minutes, which I think is a fantastic result. We also had our names called out as we crossed and a ‘I think they must be sisters’ comment from the announcer.
There were a few changes this year from last. Firstly, the races are now on a Sunday which isn’t so ideal for us. My mum works on Sundays so had to book a day off and the trains into London on a Sunday aren’t as frequent. Secondly, as part of the This Girl Can campaign, they have added a 5k option. As all the routes are two lap routes, the 5k option is a good addition and will hopefully encourage newer runners to give it a go.
I’d really recommend signing up for a race, especially if it is your first 10k as the encouragement is outstanding. The marshalls in particular were fantastic and really encouraging as you went around the course.
Have you ran any of the Women’s Running series? What did you think?