Real Race Report – Party Train!

Today was my first foray into a post-lockdown organised running event with Phoenix Running. It was an interesting experience. Instead of lots of runners all congregating together before the run, registering in the leisure centre, gathering on the towpath and setting off together as it was when I was last down here in December, there was a very different system.

Base camp

The first big difference is that the event started much earlier than usual time of 9 or 9.30. Because runners started at staggered times in groups of six the first group set off at 6.45am today, and then subsequent groups at 10 minute intervals. My start time was 7.45, which was a bit more acceptable than 6.45 to my mind! To avoid contact as much as possible we did not register in the usual way but as we arrived just told Rik who we were. Then we had to stand 2m in front of an infrared camera set at 37.5 deg C. As long our temperature showed less than that we were ok to run. Then we stood on yellow discs spaced 2m apart to wait for our start time.

It’s a private house now, but I’m guessing this was the lock keepers house once.

As you may know I have a ‘thing’ about race toilet facilities 😉 and was very concerned because in the very detailed email we received a few days ago NO mention was made of toilets! Yikes! However it was ok because the pub The Weir, which is right next to where Rik sets up his base, had opened its doors really early to allow us to use the toilet! (But not to have a drink..)

On the first lap I was in a bit of a dream and managed to miss the turning point – luckily I realised after about 25m! So that’s an extra 50m!
Sunbury lock

Although I have not run 21km since 7th June I decided that a half marathon distance would be my goal. That’s four laps, out and back. Of course I started out way too quickly! The first 10km I did in 57 minutes. It was all downhill from there (figuratively speaking – the towpath is totally flat!). The second half was really hard work, and I ended up walking bits, and stopping to take photos just to give my legs a rest. Final official time was 2:16:40. That’s ok!

Sunbury lock
Wouldn’t it be lovely to live over there?

It was perfect weather, and so lovely to run along the riverside, especially a part that I don’t know. The lap went east along the river from Walton on Thames towards Hampton Court, past Sunbury Lock. There is always lots to look at when running along a river, and this morning was no exception: several boats went through the lock, lots of scullers and rowers, and even some paddle boarders. I also like to look at all the beautiful houses whose gardens run down to the river, and imagine myself living there!

The main reason I did this run. Such a cool medal. There’s another Party Train run in Sept 13th – I could pick up a carriage to link onto the engine.. tempting!

Thank you to everyone who has read my previous post about Joseph, and thank you so much for donating. I will get an update next week on how much has been raised to help with Joseph’s health costs.

2 thoughts on “Real Race Report – Party Train!

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