Harvel5 2017

This was the third time I have run Harvel5 – a beautifully set 5 mile run out of a little village, into a country park and back again.

Last year it was only a week after my first marathon, so I was slow and steady and just got it done. The highlight of last years run was my two friends completing their first races and their longest distances in a great time. After that time around, we all headed to the pub for food and drinks and it was decided we should do the same in 2017. And we did.

We had a larger group running this year;

  • Sarah who ran for the first time last year and ran the London marathon this year – how far has she come!?
  • (Laura ran last year but unfortunately was busy, so we brought along her husband instead:)
  • Alun, husband of Laura and a sporadic runner, having been injured on and off
  • Jo, who was up for it last year but had to have a toe-op and had deferred to this year, though having completed the Brighton marathon in April, an Olympic-distance triathlon last September, and being a frequent trail runner, this was going to be a breeze for her
  • Adam, the boyfriend who would have his fourth outing at Harvel5
  • Me.

We were also joined by Alun’s son Lex and Sarah’s wife Nita as cheer-squad/support, and then Jo’s partner Neil for food and drink. So, quite a group this time around!

I hadn’t thought much about this race in the lead up – it is the event I have run the most times and is a comfortable distance, so not much to worry about. I was hoping to do well, i.e. better than last year (58:00 – which shouldn’t be hard), but I hoped to do a bit better than the year before (56:45).

The weekend before (on the anniversary of my marathon) I went out for a 5-miler (on road) which came out at 56:26 which was without really pushing, so I was hopeful that I was to get a faster time this year, even with the off-road aspect.

20170603_134052With Adam, Jo & Alun all moved up to the front, I started the race with Sarah near the back of the pack. Sarah was in good spirits, saying that even if she came last, she wouldn’t care and would just enjoy it. Last year her and Laura came in at 1:08:32,which was a great achievement against the 70 minutes they wanted to get within.

We stuck with each other for all of a few hundred metres, but then I dropped back. I am the queen of slow and steady; running every step, but at a low pace. Sarah, however, is a run-walker, so she sped away and I struggled to keep her in sight. Once she dropped to walking, I nearly caught up, but she was off again! Once I did get close, we ran together for a few metres, but then she would be off… We continued in this way for over a mile, until finally I caught up, stuck with her, and then carried on while she went back to walking. I didn’t see her again, but I was thinking she was going to do well if she kept that up.

I tootled along the course quite happily, trying to keep comfortable while trying to push myself a little, especially as I have run a lot more since that previous course PB. The course is reasonably flat, but has one short, sharp hill at the end of mile 4, which I have run every year, and this year was to be no different. I kept my head down (so I couldn’t see how far away the top was!) and just got on it. I even had to weave through some walkers to avoid slowing down! The water stop at the top was then needed as I threw water down my back, and pushed on to a fast last mile (9:55, admittedly downhill).

Storming past the life-sized traffic cone

I came into sight of the end, heard my name shouted by Adam and sprinted around that corner. Clearly I was running at obscene speeds, as my hat actually lifted off of my head, meaning I had to pull it off, and even dramatically throw it to the side as I covered the final metres.

But it was worth it; I finished in 55:36, over a minute off of my course PB. Happy Claire 🙂

I then joined the cheering crowds and awaited Sarah. It wasn’t long wait – she stormed into the finish with a time of 58:09 – a full 10 minutes off the year before!

Adam had done amazingly, taking a minute off of his best time, taking him down to a ridiculous time of 31:21 and 20th place!

Jo and Alun did great too; both exceeding their time goals and I think, really enjoying it. Enough to come back next year anyway!

Obligatory finishers photos taken, ice-creams consumed and we were off to the pub – a happy, sweaty crowd 🙂

Sweaty & happy: Alun, Sarah, me, Adam & Jo

The next day was the Medway 10k which Jo was also running (as practice for double-runs as we get closer to the Cotswold 24hr Relay race at the end of July). Adam was off long, slow distance-ing, so I went with Jo with my support-hat on.

And I bloody loved it!

10k is a good distance for all runners: novice and veteran, and it was great to see the mix of elite-types leading the way for the club-runners, hobby-runners and then those doing the distance for the first time.

It was warm out there, and some were struggling, but everyone did it – they all pushed themselves (for up to 90 minutes!) and got it done. We clapped and cheered everyone in, to the last, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. (Seeing children run 400/800m around the track for their fun-run was also very awesome, and oddly moving.)

I think Adam is keen to run it next year, I am not sure, but I will definitely be there with my cheer-hat on if not.

Finishers Jo, Heather and Matt – Heather’s first race and her first ever 10k distance!

This weekend we have the Phoenix Running Black Phoenix event on Saturday afternoon. I need to cover at least a half marathon distance to keep up my a-half-a-month goal for the year. Adam is going for an ultra distance, so will be around 2 hours longer than my half, so I could just keep moving for that time and see what I get to. We shall see.


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