So, we did it! We completed the Brands Hatch 10k for The British Heart Foundation!
It took us four weeks of training, combined with other gym programmes, but we did it. The training programme itself was loosely based on one that I found online, but I chopped and changed it a bit to suit my requirements, ensuring that a ‘practice’ 10k was completed in the week leading up to the actual event. I had set myself a target of under an hour for completion – and said that I would treat myself to a new pair of trainers if I managed it…
We travelled down to Matt’s parents in Essex the night before, so that not a lot of travel was required on race day. With Matt’s dad being into fitness as well, it was the talk of the evening – everyone looking forward to the next day. With everyone from family to friends to work colleagues talking about it and asking about it all week in the lead up, I was getting a bit nervous myself, but trying not to show it too much.
I didn’t manage to sleep well the night before the race, and woke up on Sunday morning feeling even more nervous. We ate a nice, nutritious, low carb breakfast and got on our way with plenty of time to spare. Que lots more nerves in the car…
When we got there we realised that it was a pretty big event – loads of people there already, some for the 10k, and some for the half marathon which was also taking place.
It was around 7 degrees and sunny, but the wind made it absolutely freezing. I was shivering and chattering all the way up to the start of the race, extremely nervous but completely ready to get it all over and done with. I had planned my playlist, Matt had agreed to stay with me for the whole race…and so we set off:
I pulled away from our small group straight away, and kept looking back for Matt, who reassured me with a little wave that he wasn’t far behind, so I got my head down and started running. The first section of the race was running against the usual line of Brands Hatch Race Track. The track itself was far from flat – with some pretty tough hills and of course, some tight bends. Running downhill isn’t exactly easy either, but my music started off well and I had a good pace.
Coming off of the track by the main grandstand (a hill which was absolutely horrendous) we were led around some of the overflow carpark and fields. This is where the wind really hit us, and I slowed quite considerably, but we also got to the 5k mark, so that made me feel better. I kept seeing Matt when I looked over my shoulder, which was really comforting, and so we just kept on. I had heard my little Nike Running guy tell me that I was at 26 minutes, and so I just powered on.
At the 7k mark, I came around a corner after running through the tree’s for a bit, and I saw a nice little winding track through a flat carpark and I thought ‘great, this is my time to get a little speed on the flat and improve my time’. What I didn’t see was the beginning of a 1/2km rally section….If anyone didn’t have headphones in during the part of the race, they would have heard me swearing quite loudly.
‘Nothing other than a piss-take’ – Matthew Bennett (direct quote)
After this, it was a trip through the pits, which brought us up to the 8.5k mark, and then back onto the track for the finisher. The last two hills were extremely difficult, but with DVBBS’s Tsunami and Swedish House Mafia’s Antidote blaring through my headphones, I kept the pace and headed for the home straight…
Hit with a bugger of a headwind, the final straight was the hardest part of the entire thing. We both had wanted a sprint finish, but it was physically impossible to do it with the strength of the wind pushing us back. I crossed the finish line wanting to throw up and completely unable to breathe – it was absolute torture!
After getting over the initial ‘death period’ after finishing the race, I managed to stop my Nike Running and have a look at my time. 57:41 – I was absolutely ecstatic! I had managed it – actually finished it – and I was in shock!!
The official timer that we were given to lace onto our trainers told me that I had actually finished it in 57:03 – even better!
Matt finished literally just behind me, and we felt so proud to have completed it, and to have completed it under our target time. Time for that fish & chips treat, and the new pair of sneaks…!
I’ll be honest – I’m not thinking of entering another one of these races and going again. The training programme was hard (especially as I had linked it with a weight training programme as well) and I felt like I spent most of my time complaining to Matt about how much I hated it. I really applaud the people that do this kind of thing all of the time – it takes real hard work – real dedication and discipline.
At the end of the day – me and Matt raised £346.21 for The British Heart Foundation, and we couldn’t be happier!!
A big well done to everyone – for the money raised and the race run! Incredible scenes!!