Yarrow Valkey 10k

Yarrow Valley 10km trail run


Yesterday I woke up to the sound of my alarm at 7.30am. Tired and aching from playing 90minutes of football a day earlier I cursed agreeing to run a 10k. I had blisters on my feet and my legs felt like they had seized up. So I pressed the snooze button a couple of times. Then at 8am I text the friend who had asked me to do the run with him – “Scotty, do we really have to go running??”

A couple of more texts and I was out of bed, dressed in my running gear and eating Cheerio’s. I patched up my blisters and my wife dropped me and Scotty off at the registration point for the race. There we were greeted by the pleasant organisers from Mad Bull Events who efficiently registered us and told us where to wait. Well that was it, no going back now.

We walked to the starting point and it becomes apparent that most of the other runners looked pretty professional compared to us. They had running club vests on and did proper warm ups. We had football shirts on and Scotty’s warm up was a fag while I tied my laces. As my legs were feeling stiff from my footballing exploits this concerned me a little.

The 10am start approached and people jockeyed for good starting positions. We agreed to hold back and let the more equipped looking runners start ahead of us. We also agreed that our target for the race was simply not to finish last.

At 10.03am the shriek of a klaxon marked the start of the race. The first kilometre or so was very congested. Usually this would be a bit frustrating to me, but under the circumstances I welcomed the nice slow pace and potential excuse for a poor finishing time!

The race itself was a scenic lap following the River Yarrow in Yarrow Valley Country Park, Chorley. It seemed to involve a lot of uphill stretches, more hellish leg burning steps than I care to remember, plenty of muddy patches and two wet and wonderful river crossings.

It was a tough run, but I am undecided whether that is a result of my aching legs or because of the challenging terrain. Nevertheless, we both persevered and encouraged each other through. As usual Scotty, aka Paula Radcliffe, had to stop for a pee halfway round. The lad has no bladder control! We ran like footballers rather than runners, fast for intervals, slow at times and walking in places. There was no carefully planned pacing ourselves. Our ‘strategy’ was run until one of us became too tired, slow down, stop and start again.

We crossed the finish line at 11.07am, making our time one hour and four minutes. We finished 82nd out of 169 runners. Despite being considerably slower than our best 10km times we were both happy with the result. Considering my blisters and stiff legs had made me so unsure about doing the run a few hours earlier I felt refreshed and upbeat. It might have been hard work, but it was enjoyable. We talked to some nice people along the route; we pushed ourselves through the challenge and finished with smiles on our faces.

If I learned anything from this experience it is simply don’t make excuses. In the words of a famous advertising campaign, Just Do It!

Yarrow Valkey 10k
Final stretch of Yarrow Valkey 10k

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