This was my first race of 2018 and the first race since the ROCK n ROLL LAS VEGAS MARATHON in November. A slight come down from New York and Las Vegas to Kidsgrove, but these smaller local races are what make this running community and you have to support you local clubs. As expected, the weather forecast leading up to this weekend had been predicting heavy rain all day, then the day before race day this changed to heavy snow from 8am – 12pm (race starts at 10am). There was a message from Gold Events Saturday afternoon to advise us they were going to carry out a cause inspection at 8am to see whether it was safe to run or put the race back to one of the two contingency dates in February. I must admit, I was hoping they would cancel it as running in snow didn’t sound great, plus I had just done a big bike ride Saturday afternoon as part of my training for Ironman.
So Sunday morning came and there was no snow, you can always rely on the BBC for an accurate weather forecast. So I set off to Kidsgrove (literally 2 miles from my house). I wasn’t sure what to wear for this one. It was 1c and drizzling when I set out so I went for tights, long sleeve top with my 2018 race tee over the top and my 2017 Adidas Ultraboost ST race shoes, I did take my NYC Marathon jacket as well in case it rained heavier, plus it was really cold so I was pretty much set on just running steady with my jacket on.
When I got to race HQ and collected my race number, after a little confusion, the poor lady giving the numbers out was really confused because there were two Mark Hatton’s running the race. I had seen the race list prior to today and knew I was the higher number out of the two of us, she took my word for it. As we were registering the weather turned to light snow, but didn’t seem a problem, it wasn’t sticking. Standing around in my rain jacket I suddenly felt wayyyyy over dressed. The club runners were in their shorts and vests, there was a girl stood by me in her Newcastle Staffs AC vest and hot pants. I thought, I can’t go out there with a coat on, so I ran back to the car and ditched the jacket.
When we got going the snow was starting to really come down and started to stick but we were told that the roads were open and gritted so they should be fine, the park might be a little tricky.
My plan today was to just set out and see how it feels. I hadn’t ran a 10k race since SANDBACH 10k in September and I had not been doing any speed work in training yet, so it was a bit of a step into the dark really. I did know that I am running fairly quickly over the 8 mile runs I have been doing so just see how it goes.
After the first mile the snow was coming down heavy and sticking which made it very slippery under foot. Running in the Ultraboosts on snow was proving difficult to get any grip at all, each step I was slipping. This was the case for the whole 10k, in fact I slipped over on two occasions. Thankfully, no injuries, just muddy legs and a few seconds lost.
Had we not had the snow today, this would have been a great course, some hills to challenge and push us, some good downhills (what goes up, must come down) and a nice section around bathpool. I think the snow and falls slowed me down by a few minutes, but like I said, this was my first 10k for 5 months and it is January so you have to expect tricky weather conditions. These are the days we do all the training runs in all kinds of weather. You just never know what will be thrown your way on race day.
I finished up in 21st place today out of a field of 128 who braved the cold. I was the first non-club runner home, not sure if that is an official category but I am claiming it anyway. Happy with a 42:05 today, only 96 seconds away from a PB.
The 11am race ended up being cancelled due to the slippery conditions, which I think was a fair decision. Had the snow come down 10 mins before we set off for the 10am race, I think it would have been a good call to cancel our race to. With the snow falling just as we set off, I think it was an impossible call to make on what conditions would be like as we went around. It made it fun and took my mind off just how cold my face was.