Wiltshire 10 Miles

Date: Feb 12, 2017 10:00:00

Ed Collier and Dave McGrath travelled to Melksham for this flat, road 10 mile race and were delighted to record age group records. Ed reports:

"Despite having run it, I'm still not sure whether this is correctly called the Wiltshire 10 Mile Race, or the Melksham 10 Mile Race. It starts and finishes in Melksham, which is in Wiltshire, and the race distance is 10 miles, so that's probably enough information to narrow it down should you be inspired to enter it in 2013.

This was only the race's second year, hence no-one outside Melksham/Corsham/Devizes/Lacock has heard of it. Except Dave McGrath, who the preceding Wednesday suggested that it might be a blast to do it. Given that the Gloucester 10 had been so cruelly and summarily axed with hardly ten minutes' notice, giving me no chance to make the excuse I would have normally made for not running very well, I thought "why not?" So, having entered on-line I turned up at Dave's house, only to find that he'd misjudged the time it would take to get there, and I'd misjudged the importance of reading my Facebook messages. Luckily he has a fast car and a heavy right foot (though he didn't break any speed limits, officer).

Just outside Melksham we spotted signs saying "Caution - Runners" and Dave Rantell of Cheltenham Harriers in the car in front so we followed the latter to an almost empty car park in the centre of town. It was pretty cold and the first debate was - vest only, or vest and t-shirt, or vest and long-sleeved t-shirt? We jogged to race HQ to get our numbers and I felt sufficiently bullish to go with the first option. Then back to the car to collect cake for after the race, back to HQ to stash cake, and then ten or so minutes warm-up before the off.

The road for first mile or so was closed, and then we turned off onto a series of country lanes which might as well have been closed for all the traffic we saw. I was feeling particularly punchy and managed to stay with Dave for the first five or six miles, but when I realised that I was under 32 minutes at 5 miles I started to think that I'd over-cooked it. The conditions were ideal, really - a couple of degrees warmer would have been nice, but the route was very picturesque and it was almost - almost - all lovely tarmac. It's advertised as undulating, but Dave thinks that all races outside Norfolk are advertised as undulating, because you only need to include a minor pimple like a bridge over a motorway and runners - sorry, customers - start complaining that "no-one told me there were hills". Plus the course goes past Lacock Abbey, which has to be one of the prettiest houses you'll ever see. I didn't really have eyes for the architecture as I was trying to keep Dave in sight in front and those behind me from over-taking, both of which efforts turned out to be doomed.

The final mile is along a sort of track beside the river Avon and then it finishes on the playing field where the HQ is situated. I was thoroughly delighted to get an age-group record of 64m 10s, while Dave was very pleased with his PB and age-group record of 62m 39s. After a prolonged session of mutual congratulation (and coughing-as-hernia-induction on my part) we repaired to HQ for cake and coffee, and then home.

Ten miles is a much rarer race distance these days than it used to be, but it's a useful predictor of half marathon performance. According to the RW Race Time Predictor (http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/rws-race-time-predictor/1681.html) I am on for a time at Wokingham next Sunday of 1h 25m. Now that would seriously cheer me up."

Distance: 10 miles
Reviewer: Ed Collier
Venue: Melksham, Wilts