Raby Castle 10K – 12-05-19

Race Report by Brian Rose

Sunday 12th May 2019 and it was the 17th annual Raby Castle 10K hosted by Teesdale AC.

A warm late spring day offered ideal conditions for strapping on the running shoes and getting miles in the legs. Judging by the number of families and clubs represented across all four races held a similar frame of mind appeared to be the case.

The race route is two laps, mainly on tarmac paths, within the grounds of Raby Castle which offered stunning views of the estate. There are two climbs contained within the lap which are testing. One near the start is slightly longer whereas the second climb offers a sharper incline which saps the energy out of the legs just as you reach the top. With the route being well marshalled, and the encouragement from said marshals and supporters was greatly appreciated. Along with one drinks station (at the start of the 2nd lap) the race was also exceptionally organised.

There was a good turnout from the club with 7 Marsh House Harriers attending. (As this was my first race for the club, I’m still finding my feet with who’s who so apologies for the sketchy account.) One member, Darren, came over and introduced himself which settled the nerves a little. Along with a heads-up on the route (which confirmed Coach Ian’s description) it underlined my decision to join the club. Until February 2019, I had always been a lone runner. However, after a crisis of confidence/loss of mojo, I decided to join the club to rectify this. Best decision I’ve made since getting back into running in 2011. The support and camaraderie I’ve received since joining has rejuvenated me and the Thursday night structured training session has brought out the best in me and taken me right out of my comfort zone which I feel has reaped dividend in my running. Emphasised by the sub-50 minutes I posted in the race, especially on such an undulating route.

Back to the race itself…. A gentle flat start was soon a distant memory when the major climb kicks in. As it stretched out so did the field of runners with small groups forming. A steep descent into the estate’s groundskeeper’s outbuildings is followed by a section of trail which was a touch sludgy in places but not enough to wish I’d worn my ‘trailies’. A sharp right as you come out of the woods is then followed by the short sharp steep climb onto the tarmac. This sapped the energy out of the legs and the descent into the main castle grounds is small comfort as you’ve got to do it all again.

The 2nd lap was run almost exclusively on my own as the field of runners became more and more fragmented and the warm weather started to take its toll. The once enjoyed vistas now blur into the background as I focus on an even split. Once this lap is done there is short deviation into the finishing straight where a medal and bottle of water awaits. Apparently, there was a craft ale beer at the finish but I may have imagined that. I’ll blame heat-stroke, as I can sniff out a decent IPA from a mile away.

My watch said the distance was just shy of the full 10K with a time of 49:53. So to compete in a mixed terrain, undulating course 10K race in under 50 minutes is a big plus for me. Therefore, as stated earlier, it appears the training and structure the club offers benefits my race day results. Hopefully, the next race (Pier 2 Pier) will highlight this theory.

All in all, a memorable day running in the Marsh House colours for the first time and also a highly recommended race to try out in 2020. If the weather is the same next year, we’ll bring a picnic to do some further exploring of the estate.

Well done to all the Harriers who competed.

“I’ll be happy if running and I can grow old together.”
― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Full Results can be found Here

Photos by Karen Harland – http://bit.ly/2YtrW1J

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