10k Race Reviews

Clock Change Challenge (2017)

This course is fast and flat, perfect for a PB with an out and back route along quiet country lanes.

About the race

When: –
Sunday 29 October 2017 @ 11.00am

Where: – Calne Leisure Centre, White Horse Way, Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 0SP

Cost: – £15.00 unattached

Organisers website: – www.riderhq.com

Race Facts
The Calne story begins AD 978 and is known for its canal (which was completed in 1810 and abandoned in 1914) and rail travel (the railway station opened in 1863 and closed in 1965 from insufficient demand), woollen broadcloth and meat production.

Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen at the nearby Bowood House.

Race Aces
Impressive medal for a less expensive race and with chip timing.

Free parking at the race site.

Pre and Post race sports massage.

Clock Change Challenge Medal

Race Unlaces
Even though parking was free, I got there later than I usually arrive at races, the sports centre car park was manic. There was an overflow car park on the tennis courts but they were also gridlocked.

Headphones are not permitted and the road is open to traffic.

As it was a smaller race there were very few spectators at the finish line, and by the time I’d finished there were only a couple of people left it seemed!

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:04:46 | Pace: 10:22 | Mile splits: 10:02, 10:14, 10:26, 10:33, 10:13, 10:34, 2:36
Position: 287/331 | Gender position: 115th

Total runners: 331 | Fastest Male: 30:55 | Fastest Female: 41:13 | Slowest Finisher: 1:23:16

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 11, 90 miles | Birmingham: 2hr 07, 103 miles | Bristol: 1hr, 36 miles| Cardiff: 1hr 36, 69 miles | Exeter: 2hr 12, 114 miles

Next event: 25 March 2018

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
This was a splendid little race with a great medal! The only things I didn’t really enjoy were that it was quite a lonely race around the course and not many spectators at the end (which is great for anyone who has come to support you as they have full view of your spectacular finishing sprint!) but it was quite strange and a contrast to the drumming and festival atmosphere at the start.

I also wasn’t a fan of the car parking arrangements, while I’m sure there were plenty of spaces for the amount of runners, it was just chaos and I didn’t leave race HQ until enough cars had gone home as there was only one road in and out. At the end of the day though parking was free and you could see the start / finish line from the car park so at least any spectators didn’t have to hang around outside at the leisure centre if they didn’t want to.

Would I run it again? Yes and in fact I am going to race the spring Clock Change Challenge (although this time I’m going to be losing an hour instead of gaining an hour).

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

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Half Marathon Training | Week 3 | Diary of an Injured Runner

Monday | Week 3 | Rest Day
Really enjoyed this rest day today, my legs weren’t feeling great after yesterday’s run. Spent some time with the pup snuggled on the sofa.

Tuesday| Week 3 | Interval Training 3 Miles
Today I hate running! I decided I needed to up the training a bit as I’ve been doing far too many ‘easy’ runs and incorporate some interval training. I did 3 mins warm up, 1 min easy/ 1 min hard, 2 min easy/ 2 min hard, 3 min easy/ 3 min hard x 2 and the remainder was a cool down jog. I do love pushing myself, however, the inside of my legs were agony the entire run but I did push through it. Not only that, my running shoes that I’ve had for 6 months are still super uncomfortable and rub the back of my heel so I was bleeding everywhere too (I’ll be honest, I think it’s slightly too big a shoe size).

I feel absolutely defeated. In 2017 training was going well up until around June time and then I was plagued with plantar fasciitis and pain at the back of my knee and down my leg. It meant that I really couldn’t push myself in training and didn’t improve from there on out.

Fast forward to today… I’m signed up for Glastonbury 10k, which was my first race of 2017, in May and it’s looking like I won’t even make a course PB even after a year of training.

For me, improving on my times is one thing that keeps me going. If I can’t improve then I’m just plodding along!

After today’s run I spent a long time stretching out followed by a bath and I’ve gotta say, I’m still in pain

Miles:- 3.28

Wednesday| Week 3 | Rest Day
Feeling pretty sorry for myself today. The pain in my legs is still there and I actually couldn’t think of anything worse than going for a run.

Thursday | Week 4 | Rest Day
Another rest day, I’m STILL in pain! I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m going to move forward with running seeing as I’m only into week 3 and already I’m in a lot of pain and I’m nowhere near up to doing any kind of long run yet. I’m not sure what to do for the best…. I guess I really need to see some kind of sports therapist, however, they’re so expensive that I’m reluctant (and broke) to be able to afford to go at the moment. I’m wondering if I need new running shoes (even though I was properly fitted for the ones I have now but clearly they aren’t doing me any favours). If I bought some proper insoles would that do the trick?

The last time I went to a physical therapist was the beginning of last year when I had an AirHop injury which had persisted for nearly a year (while trampolining I flicked my leg out and felt something go at the back of my knee). They did every movement possible to find out what might be causing the pain but couldn’t and suggested that I strap up the back of my knee for races for a bit of stability. He also told me that I have a high arch under my right foot in particular and that I have hyper-extension in all of my joints, which is probably how my knee injury occurred in the first place, and that I shouldn’t overdo stretching as this could lead to further injury.

So here I am. Stuck between a rock and a broke place. Do I just suck it up and pay for a PT until I’m confident I’m on the mend? Do I cross train (I have this spin bike at home which got me through my knee injury and kept my fitness up)? Do I ditch my expensive running shoes and get new ones? Or do I just abandon running altogether??

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

Friday| Week 3 | Rest Day
I’ll usually run on a Friday but that was just not happening for me today! I’d planned to do just a few minutes on the bike but I was so exhausted from a week of bad sleeps that I decided I’d skip it. I’m also still sulking over my ‘injury’.

Saturday | Week 3 | Rest Day (yes another one)
Still feeling down about this whole injury business, I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I’m going to get to a Physical Therapist in the next couple of weeks. I need to get this sorted out ASAP, I’ve got a half marathon in 8 weeks and if I can’t train enough for it I’ll be devastated! #TakeAllMyMoney

Sunday| Week 3 | Race Day ~ Bath Skyline 5k
Whoop it’s another race day! I don’t know why I do it to myself…. last year I did two races from the same series (Killerton and Cheddar Gorge) and I found them really tough so I don’t know why I thought that Bath Skyline would be a good idea. The race description is ‘hilly, narrow and technical underfoot, this is one of those races you should be taking in the splendid scenery but will probably be too busy trying not to take a tumble’.

Start & Finish Line

I was under no illusion that I was going to stay upright for the entire race. I fell over on the steepest hill on the final stretch of Killerton… myself and a couple of other people were stood at the top of the hill looking down and I joked ‘what’s the best way to get down, roll down?’. Turns out… I did roll down… right in front of everyone. But I didn’t care, if I got down there faster that was all I cared about I just wanted it to be over.

Then there was Cheddar…. probably the most difficult course I’ve ever navigated. It was very wet, muddy, steep and slippery underfoot. There were so many times I nearly fell over but I did manage to stay on my feet but another runner did make a comment to me that I ‘should be running’ when I was steering myself down a steep hill which was muddy, with wet leaves covering stony ground in woodland (which I thought was kinda rude if I say so myself).

It’s a good job I’m not fond of these running shoes!

Anyway, back to Bath Skyline! Because of the two races mentioned above, I suspected that Bath Skyline would be pretty much the same… and it was. I was originally signed up for the 10k which would have been the same route twice but I was really not feeling the whole trail vibe this morning so I asked if I could go for the 5k instead. Luckily there were some spaces left and I felt a bit better but still kinda anxious. What was I doing?? I’m not a technical runner! I do, however, love running trails. The views on trails are like nothing you’ll ever see on a road run and this one didn’t disappoint, the views at the top were stunning even if I did have to fall over twice to see them.

This is why I wore old clothes and cropped leggings

Moving on to my fall, I was sort of running with a couple of other people that were keeping a similar pace to me, but when we got to the really muddy parts in the woodland I just knew I was going to fall over. I even said to them ‘I’m determined to fall over’ as I was sliding around all over the place. And what do you know, the very next second I slipped right over. They asked me if I was ok which was kind of them, and then just a moment later I was on the ground again. One of them offered to help me up which, again, was very kind but I’d got myself into this mess I had to get myself out haha! I can verify that I already have a giant bruise all down my left hand side so this race is just going to keep giving…

Oh look a muddy hand holding a medal

Would I run this again? Nope. But did I enjoy this race? Also nope (just kidding I did a little). Note to myself: please do not sign up for any more races like this!

Miles: 3.1

TOTAL MILES: – 6.38

NEXT WEEK’S GOALS: – 3 easy, short runs | 1 x spin workout | 2 x yoga

 

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Half Marathon Training | Week 2 | Diary of an Injured Runner

Monday| Week 2 | Rest Day
Heck I have got serious DOMS today after yesterday’s 10k. I’m super sad that I’ve lost so much fitness in a short space of time and I can’t say I’m a fan of being part of the not-being-able-to-get-up-because-my-legs-hurt club.

Tuesday| Week 2 | Run with Pupper
I was feeling super blah today so I decided that, rather than run first and take pup out after, I’d take her with me. We haven’t run together for around a year on the leash because she had some issues with her back leg last January and I’ve been too scared to run with her since. A gentle jog was on the agenda and whatever she felt comfortable with and she was a little star and managed to run the whole way with no issues. Perhaps I’m just a controlling puppy mother and I need to give her more credit.

Distance: 1.6 miles
Warm up: only did a gentle jog because of pup
Cool down: none, I forgot again

IMG_2299_Facetune_30-01-2018-18-06-18
Who’s a good girl??

Wednesday | Week 2 | Rest Day
I felt really unhappy with the way I looked in my race photos from the Longleat 10k and I really need to work on my diet. Spent the evening trying to find some new recipes for me to try.

Thursday| Week 2 | Rest Day
“2 Rest Days in a row” I hear you cry! Yep, this is why I need to run on a Monday because my days of the week (and let’s be honest, hair washes) don’t line up… runners problems eh.

Friday | Week 2 | Easy Run
I had a not great day at work today and by the time I got home I had a headache, blurry eyes and my back was killing me. I knew that I needed to fit a run in though but didn’t have a goal in mind. Since I’ve been running again after being ill I’ve been doing mostly easy runs to get myself back into it. I really feel like I need that time to recover before I start going ham on the intervals and hills! I went out with 5k in mind and managed to push myself to do just over 4.5 miles.

Distance: 4.6 miles
Injuries: a bit of an ingrown toenail and some shin pain from running in my old shoes
Times I convinced myself to go further: 3
Warm up: started with a gentle jog
Cool down: 5 minute lower body cool down
Playlist fave: Jessie J ~ Domino

Saturday | Week 2 | Another Rest day
I’m away from home visiting family this weekend so no running today but I’m planning to go out tomorrow for a little run (and possibly a little bit of getting lost too). I’ve been struggling with inner shin pain since yesterday’s run, I hope I can shake this and that my plantar fasciitis doesn’t come back. I lost sooooo many days of training last year from it I didn’t improve much at all the last 6 months of the year!!

Sunday| Week 2 | Pupper paced-part trail run
A very slow (Labrador dictated) jog today. I had to take the furry one out with me again. We started in the woods but I wasn’t sure which way to go and we only went around half of the park which was very muddy. Then we got onto the pavements and while pup started strong she was struggling the last mile or so. She had 2 lots of off leash running and she always runs like a crazy one so it’s no surprise she had a bad leg when we got home.

I also accidentally signed up for 2 more races this year which will take me up to 16 so far.

Distance: 4 miles
Injuries: the pain on the side of my shins is back on both legs… I need to figure out why otherwise this is going to stop me running again!
Mud baths: 5
Warm up: started with a gentle jog
Cool down: forgot, again

TOTAL MILES:- 10.36

NEXT WEEK: – Increase the intensity for at least one run | Sunday Race Day!

Running & Fitness Tips

31 Tips for Running Beginners

If you’re new to running, here’s 31 tips to help get you started

1. Get the right running shoes
Having the right running shoes can make all the difference to your running. Get your gait analysed in a running shop (trust me it’s not as scary as you imagine) and they will recommend the best support shoe for you based on your running style which will help keep injuries at bay.

2. Find a running buddy
Running with another person can be rewarding, you have someone else that you’re accountable to and you can both push each other to go further than you might if you were running alone. Don’t fall into the trap of doing more gossiping than running though!

3. Be safe
If you’re out running on your own, your safety must be paramount. If you have a Garmin, you can add an email address into Livetrack which will send an link to the receiver when you press start and they will be able to track your location. If you’re running in the dark or dim light, make sure you’ve either got reflective gear on or if you really want to play it safe you can use a head torch which will also help you see where you’re going.

4. Don’t do too much too soon
A sure fire way to pick up an injury is to attempt to push yourself too hard too soon. It’s recommended that you increase your distance by a maximum of 10% each week to avoid injury and, if you’re a real beginner, keep your distance the same for around a month while your body adjusts.

5. Warm up & cool down
This is definitely something that runners of all abilities neglect but it really does help you avoid injury and recover quicker. To warm up I’ll usually dance around my living room to an upbeat tune, walk with the dog or add a short walk before my run. Once I’m done with my run I’ll spend time doing some lower body stretches and foam rolling.

6. Track / log your runs
How do you know how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you’ve been? Sometimes it’s difficult to see how much you’ve improved but looking back at your fastest times from 2-3 months ago, you’ll be surprised how much progress you’ve actually made. Keep a running log or journal and refer back to it frequently.

7. Multi train
While it’s easy to go out and pound the pavement to get those miles in, if you’re looking to improve your run times you’ll need to incorporate different styles of running such as tempo runs, speed work and fartlek which will help make you a stronger and faster runner.

8. Don’t underestimate rest days
It may seem tempting to go out running every day but you’ll quickly find that your enthusiasm waivers and you’ll lose interest a lot quicker (you’re also more likely to pick up an injury). If you really don’t want to have a complete rest, go for a walk, swim or gym class to vary up your routine.

9. Sign up for a race
While this may seem daunting if you’ve never run a race before, it will give you the motivation to keep training even on the days that you don’t feel like it. Put up a sign somewhere prominent that will remind you why you’re doing this and how you want to feel on race day. There’s nothing worse than standing at the start line of a race feeling like you should have tried harder in training.

10. Joining a running club
This may seem really scary if you’re a beginner but if you want to be part of your own little running community, learn tons and make friends then this is the place to go! There are so many different running abilities at running clubs, you don’t have to be an elite runner to join one.

11. Try all different types of running terrains
Just because it may be easier to run on the pavement, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try different terrains. There’s a whole world of trail runners out there and they get to run in the most scenic parts of the country. So head out to some trails and give it a go, you never know, you might like it and it will give you another dimension to your road running.

12. Take your dog
If your 4 legged best friend is up to it, take your dog with you (please make sure that you don’t overtrain your pup and stop immediately if you think they’re in any discomfort). Dogs can be a great addition to your runs, they keep you company, they keep you motivated (you have to take them out anyway) and they are just awesome. While you may have to stop for a few sniff and bathroom breaks, that’s not a bad thing, just think of it as interval training.

13. Get new running gear
So you’ve got your running shoes sorted, it’s time to overhaul your workout wardrobe. Nothing screams ‘take me out for a run’ more than getting new workout clothes that you really want to wear. There’s no time like the present, put them on, go out for a run and smash it looking fabulous.

14. Listen to some music
Studies have shown that listening to music helps you work harder. So create an amazing playlist especially for your runs of upbeat and motivational tunes (think Rocky here).

15. Dress for the weather
While it may be chilly outside, make sure you’re not dressed like the abominable snowman. You’ll soon warm up so have a couple of layers that you can take off as you go. If you suffer from painful ears or sinuses in the wind, invest in a head band which protects your ears from the elements.

16. Be social on social media
If joining a running club is just too daunting for you, you can always join the online running community by signing up for either a Twitter or Instagram account. These social media platforms are not for narcissistic runners who love posting about themselves it’s about making friends with other runners, sharing tips and new races with an endless amount of people.

17. You can’t out train a bad diet
You are what you eat. Clean up your eating habits and you’ll reap the rewards in your running. There are so many resources on Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube that will help give you some new food ideas, which will not only be better for your health but will also give you tons of energy (think of fuelling for those long Sunday runs).

18. A bad run doesn’t mean you’re a bad runner
Just to put things into perspective, every runner has a ‘bad run’. Bad runs make you grateful for all of your easy runs so try not to dwell on them too much. Sometimes it’s worth abandoning your run, doing a shorter route than first planned, trying later on the same day or perhaps do some cross training instead. Some days you just don’t feel it but don’t give up.

19. Try out a couch to 5k training plan
If you’re really not sure where to start there are lots of Couch to 5k training plans out there to help you get started and give you an idea of how often and how far you should be running.

20. Don’t compare yourself to other runners
Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Always remember, the only person you are in competition with is yourself. Look back to your running log frequently and remind yourself how hard you’ve worked, how far you’ve come and how far you’re going to go! Try and follow other social media accounts that are around the same level as you are (while following people who are running 6 minute miles are inspirational, you need to find your ‘tribe’).

21. Fun runs
Fun runs can be a nice way to break up your training and add more spark to your routine. These races are less about the PBs and more about the experiences (look out for Pretty Muddy, Race for Life, Survival Run and Obstacle Courses to name a few). Not only are you getting fit, expanding your running repertoire and having a laugh with your friends you’re putting the fun back into running.

22. Running technique
There are lots of running resources out there to help you work on your running technique, it’s not always a ‘train hard or go home’ mentality. The more you can improve your running technique, the less likely you’ll get injuries and you’ll be an overall more efficient runner (and who doesn’t want that).

23. Don’t forget to have fun
Running shouldn’t be a punishment it should be enjoyable. Running has taken me to some amazing places, I’ve met some amazing friends and it’s made me realise that I’m much more capable than I ever thought I was.

24. Foam rolling is your new best friend
While it might look (and at times feel) like some kind of torture device, foam rolling is going to help you work out all of the kinks from sore muscles. If you’re not sure where to start, check out some YouTube videos that will help you get the basic moves down.

25. Get to know the difference between physically exerting yourself and pain
Running sometimes hurts… fact! At times your legs will feel like lead and you can’t take one more step and you have to learn to suck it up and power through. But if you’re feeling sharp pain or any pain that doesn’t ‘feel right’ you must stop.

26. Don’t neglect core work
Having a strong core helps runners with posture, speed and endurance. Don’t neglect those abs and planks and say hello to that rock hard stomach!

27. Keep your toenails short
There’s nothing worse than the feeling of your toenails poking into the insides of your shoes while running. I especially make sure I trim them before a race but always make sure you cut straight across the nail to avoid getting an ingrown toenail.

28. Keep hydrated
Being dehydrated kills your energy levels like nothing else. Keep a water bottle on you during the day and drink from it regularly. If you’re not that great at remembering to drink water, you can now buy water bottles that have a countdown to the times of day you need to have drank up to and you can even get apps that will send you reminders.

29. Slow progress is still progress
So you only shaved a couple of seconds off of your PB? Add all of those seconds up and eventually it will be a minute, then two and then who knows! Just keep at it.

30. Cross Training
It’s not all about the running… try and incorporate yoga, other forms of cardio like swimming or spinning, strength work and sports into your routine. This will help condition your whole body by using different muscles from running.

31. Train hills
Most beginner runners consider running up any sort of incline pure torture but don’t neglect running up hills, they’re great for building stamina and strength in your legs and there’s less impact on your lower body. You know what they say ‘it’s just a hill, get over it’!

I hope you’ve found some of these running tips helpful and I’d love to hear any more tips that you may have so please leave any comments below.

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Half Marathon Training | Week 1 | Diary of an Injured Runner

Monday| Week 1 | Easy Run
Back to it! I haven’t run a race for over 2 months and have only gone out once or twice since then due to the flu. Plan was do 1 mile, which led to 2 and then 3 so I exceeded my target but this easy run wasn’t easy! I struggled which is worrying as the half marathon is less than 11 weeks away. I just have to trust in my training though and know I’ll get there by race day.

Distance: 3.2 miles
Injuries: left ankle was a bit iffy
Dogs spotted: 3 really cute ones
Warm up: dancing around like a fool to Around The World ~ Daft Punk
Cool down: walk with Pupper + 5 min lower body stretches
Playlist fave: Connor Maynard + Neyo ~ Turn Around

After the running, we eat all the pizza

Tuesday | Week 1 | Rest Day

Wednesday| Week 1 | Lamppost sprints
Warmed up by jogging for 1/4 mile and then went into lamppost sprints for just over a mile, finished with an easy paced run. I forgot how hard this was! Back last year I was running 8 minute miles and now I can’t get above 10.

Distance: 3.1 miles
Injuries: none
Chip shops passed: 3 | Chips eaten: zero
Cool down: walk with Pupper. Forgot to stretch

Thursday| Week 1 | Rest day

Friday | Week 1 | Unintentional Rest Day
I had every intention of going out tonight and doing around 5 miles, however, I was sooooo hungry… then I sat on the sofa…… and I was so tired I had an accidental snooze. Quite annoyed with myself because I’ve lost one day now and I have a race Sunday so don’t really want to run the day before!

Saturday| Week 1 | Rest day

Sunday| Week 1 | Race Day ~ Longleat 10k
Wow what a race! Even though the hills were quite ridiculous, the rain soaked me right through and it was pretty chilly, this is perhaps up there with my top 3 races, I loved it! This is the furthest I’ve run since the Gloucester 10k in October and I’ll be honest I was dreading it. My training runs this week made me feel that I was back to square one, having not run for nearly 7 weeks really did take a toll on my fitness and I’ll be honest, I’m still not at 100% now… having the flu does suck. The first mile was super slow as you almost start up a hill, and it wasn’t nice getting to the top and seeing a sign for 5 miles knowing you had to go back up it again. I’d already resigned myself to the fact that I’d struggle today so I wasn’t overly concerned with my finish time. The last 1k or so is completely downhill, which is a welcome relief following all of those hills. A full race review will be up on Tuesday on the blog.

I had a couple of injuries. I can’t take my own advice and wore the wrong socks out on day 3 this week and ended up with a horrible blister on the back of my heel (my running shoes are not that comfortable but when you’ve paid so much for them it’s hard not to use them which I know isn’t logical). This meant that it was still sore there and I ended up with a nice blood filled shoe by the end of it, and because it was painful to run on it, I must have been doing compensating foot strikes because my foot was really sore after #facepalm.

Week 1 Total Miles: – 12

I’m looking forward to next week, I’ve got a couple of longer runs planned and I’m going to be working much more on speed. This week was more of an ease-me-back-into-running-after-being-sick plan.

Trail Race Reviews

Cannock Chase 10k (2017)

The 2017 race saw the 4th Cannock Chase 10k event. Based in the Area of Outstanding Natural beauty of Cannock Chase. No concrete, no traffic; just nature, woodlands and peace. The course is entirely off road. The race starts on a field at Lady Hill Coppice where you’ll begin your run through the forest. You’ll join the Fairoak trail and run through Stony Brook and past the Stony Brook Pools where you’ll cross a stream. Don’t worry, there are big stepping stones for those of you who wish to avoid wet feet (I was a wuss and didn’t run through it but I absolutely loved this part of the race, I felt like I was on a ‘proper’ trail run). From here you’ll run up to the top of Jockey Hill and run parallel to Marquis Drive. Then you will loop around and down to the Fairoak Pools, watch out for the fishermen. You’ll then race uphill for a quick loop before returning to the Fairoak Trail and back through Stony Brook. Keep an eye out for the Go Ape Forest Segways. Then comes the final climb back to Lady Hill Coppice ~ Race description from official website

About the race
When: –
Sunday 6 August 2017 @ 10:30

Where: – Birches Valley Forest Centre, Rugeley, WS15 2UW

Cost: – £17.50 unattached

Organisers website: – www.cannockchase10k.co.uk

Cannock Chase 10k Race Map ~ Garmin

Cannock Chase 10k Elevation Chart – Strava

Facts about Cannock Chase
Cannock Chase is an area of countryside in the county of Staffordshire. It’s best known for its open heathland, pine forest and its mining and military history (the Chase has several war memorials including German and Commonwealth war cemeteries) which stretches back several hundred years. Cannock Chase was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1958 covering 26 sq mi and is part of the Forestry Commission.

The area gained notoriety in the late 1960s when the Cannock Chase murders made national headlines; the remains of three young girls were found buried on the Chase after going missing.

Sightings of Werewolves, UFOs and Bigfoot have appeared in the local press, however, no conclusive evidence has been produced so keep your eyes peeled for any of these!

Race Awesomes
Race pack sent via post with chip timer on the back of bib

You can buy a Cannock Chase 10k race t-shirt (I didn’t in 2017 but it was cute, I missed out there)

Toilets easily accessible at race HQ

Incredible scenery. I’m a bit of a photography nut and take photos of everything; it was so beautiful I had to stop myself from having a quick ‘photo break’ every other step!

Free and easily accessible parking. You can see race HQ from the parking spots

This is a personal favourite of mine, when you’re running you can hear the sound of the gravel trail underfoot. This area is so quiet is was mesmerising just listening to everyone’s footsteps.

Even though this race is trail, it’s mostly gravel which was nice and clean. I didn’t come away from the race (as I usually do on a trail run) with muddy shoes.

I didn’t wear trail shoes on this course and I felt that, personally, I didn’t need them

Race Naw-somes
I’ll be honest, I loved every second of this race and in my opinion there was nothing bad about it. But for the sake of fair criticism I’ve come up with a few downsides of the race

You are not permitted to listen to music while running. However, I believe that this would have totally ruined the race for me had I been listening to music.

Even though you are running entirely off road, the race is still open to the public and there were people walking around many of the trail routes and there were a lot of mountain bikers. This also meant that you had, at times, random spectators to cheer you on which is always a bonus

If you’re not into that kind of thing, the elevation was crazy and it was hill after hill. At times I couldn’t even attempt to run as it was just too steep (but I don’t mind this at all)

There isn’t much for any spectators that may come with you to entertain them. Because you’re in a giant woodland area, it’s beautiful and you can walk around for hours, however, if the weather wasn’t as pleasant as it was on the day I raced, you might find some fair weather spectators hiding out in their cars

As there was only one road in and out to leave the Cannock Chase, the traffic was a bit manic when it came to leave

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:08 | Pace: 11:26 | Mile splits: 11:11, 12:50, 11:20, 11:18, 11:11, 10:26
Position: 477/651 | Gender position: 165/283

Total runners: 654 | Fastest Male: 38:08 | Fastest Female: 40:29 | Slowest Finisher: 1:33:58

Watch my YouTube running vlog below

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 Twitter @CannockChase10k
Official hashtags: #CC10k

Distances from Major Cities
London
: 2hr 49 | Birmingham: 38 min Bristol: 2hr Cardiff: 2hr 31 | Exeter: 3hr 08

Next event: 5 August 2018 (check Twitter where they’ve posted that ‘everyone gets a free photo’ for 2018)

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
Where do I even start with this race, I absolutely loved every single second of it and it ended up being my most favourite race of 2017. Even though this was a bit of a trek for me travel-wise, I would have travelled there the next day to do it all over again. The views were just like nothing I’d ever seen before on a race and I could have hung out there all day (I was lucky, it was a sunny day!).

I mentioned that there’s not much for spectators to do at race HQ, I think that entirely depends upon what their interests are. You’re in the middle of a giant field in the middle of nowhere and you can’t leave the Chase to go anywhere else.

One of my favourite parts of the race was when you go past the lake and the fishermen, I just had to stop here and take a cheeky photo (who cares about race times when you’re in a place like this right… I’m probably the only one that holds this opinion).

The medal was just awesome, it was well made and I enjoyed the design which has the Cannock Chase 10k tree logo on it. While I thought the race was good value for money (because I just loved it), you get the medal and a goodie bag and have to pay for a race t-shirt if you wanted one, being totally honest, you could have run the same route alone, but let’s face it, it’s not the same!

Would I run it again? Absolutely, without hesitation heck yes. This for me is the race that all future trail races I run have to live up to. Compared to some trail races that I’ve raced in 2017, the ground is very uneven and I often have trouble staying upright, but this was nothing like that. I loved the little stream that you cross near the start and I must have nearly had a smile on my face the whole way around (I’m weird like that).

So if you’re looking for a trail race as a beginner I highly recommend the Cannock Chase 10k. The trails are on even ground for the majority of the time and you won’t have trouble finding your feet (but you might find they’re wet if you go through the stream at the beginning).

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

* I’d also like to thank my spectator who came with me to this race. I know you love it really but thanks for always trying to get the best video of me finishing, even if sometimes it is accidentally of the ground xxxxxx

10k Race Reviews

Westonbirt House Summer 10k (2017)

The event sees competitors take on a 2 lap course, finishing directly in front of the stunning stately home. The race starts and finishes in front of the house and heads through the school grounds until a right turn onto a quiet country road. At the end of the first and second lap you run through the beautiful Westonbirt House gardens. The finish straight is a spectacular stretch in the house gardens, culminating in a finish line directly outside the Westonbirt House ~ Race description from official website

About the race
When: –
Friday 4 August 2017 @ 19:30

Where: – Westonbirt House, Westonbirt, Nr. Tetbury, Glos, GL8 8QG

Cost: – £24.22 unattached

Organisers website: – www.dbmax.co.uk (there is a great promotional video on here of the race)

Westonbirt House 10k Map ~ Garmin

Westonbirt Race Map and Mile Markers ~ Garmin

Westonbirt 10k Elevation Chart ~ Strava

Race Facts
Westonbirt House is an Elizabethan style, Grade I listed country house which belonged to the Holford family from 1665 until 1926. Since 1928, the house has been occupied by a girls’ boarding school.

There is also an Easter (March) and a Winter (December) race at Westonbirt House.

Race Aces
Race packs are sent via post and it’s a chip timed race

Free parking on site

The race finish line is up the beautiful steps leading to Westonbirt House. When you’re racing to the finish, the spectators cheering you on is amazing and you feel like a rock star.

The medal is also a bottle opener (and why not!) #finishinthebar

Race HQ is absolutely beautiful. You get the chance to look around the gardens which are fantastic and go into  Westonbirt House where they had stalls and the bar is open for anyone to enjoy a drink.

Race Unlaces
The race finish line is up the beautiful steps leading to Westonbirt House! Who doesn’t love the final push of a race going up a bunch of steps. It was all I could do not to trip over in front of all of the spectators who line each side of the steps.

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of 2 lap courses. I always feel really defeated seeing the 2km sign quickly followed by the 8km sign and thinking ‘gosh I’ve got a long way before I’m back here again’.

Race is on open roads and at times there was busy traffic down the country lanes. At one point we had a giant bus drive past us

No headphones allowed due to the open road

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:01 | Pace: 10:05 | Mile splits: 9:59, 9:18, 9:57, 10:38, 10:19, 10:16, 1:20
Position: 410/597 | Gender position: 196/352

Total runners: 597 | Fastest Male: 34:35 | Fastest Female: 39:10 | Slowest Finisher: 1:37

Watch my YouTube running vlog below

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
dbmax_timing | Twitter: @dbmaxevents
Official hashtags: #finishinthebar #dbmaxselfie

Distances from Major Cities
London
: 1hr 45Birmingham: 1hr 30Bristol35 minCardiff: 1hrExeter: 1hr 45

Next event: 30 March 2018

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
Overall I thought this was a really charming race. Westonbirt House and the surrounding gardens are just stunning and race HQ is a delightful place to be, especially on a hot sunny day as it was on the day that I raced; my spectator enjoyed the atmosphere and the House and gardens. The race medal was attractive, well made and it looked great with my collection of medals (even if I couldn’t open a bottle with the bottle opener on it!). The only downsides for me were that it was a 2 lap race, of which I don’t enjoy so much, and while the country lanes were quite scenic there was also traffic on the roads. People would shout ‘car’ when there was a car coming and that was your cue to run tight against the embankment, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to overtake another runner.

Would I run it again? Possibly. I saw the Winter medal and it looked splendid so I’d be tempted to run that one and also the Easter one to add to my collection but race-wise, I’m glad I did it, but I don’t think I’d run it again based solely on the route itself.

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

* I’d also like to thank my spectator who came with me to this race. I know you love it really but thanks for always trying to get the best video of me finishing, even if sometimes it is accidentally of the ground xxxxxx