Race Report – Spooky Sprint
On Saturday I took part in my first ever 10k race, the Spooky Sprint for Parkinson’s disease. Not only was this my first 10k race, but it was also my first ever race with chip timing (my only previous race is the Race for Life which I’m not really sure counts as a proper race).
The event itself was held at the White Water Rafting Centre in Waltham Abbey. It’s quite local to where I live and I think it was mainly local runners who came to the race, there was only 120 in total. With such a small number of people the race village was obviously going to be quite small, with only the registration desk and Bare Foot wines who where there sponsoring the race.
Despite the small size the atmosphere was very lively and joyous. Lots of people where in fancy dress and before the race started there was a children’s fun run which saw plenty of kids under 10 dressed up and running. This was particularly fun for me to watch as the kids where very sweet, you had everything from witches to smurfs!
After a mediocre warm up (probably the only thing that really needed improvement) we all set off to our starting point. My mum was running the 5k which started from a slightly father back point, so after wishing her luck I went off to the 10k mark and it was go time, dead on 6pm as planned.
The course was gorgeous and very scenic with lots of rivers, greenery and fighting ducks to look at whilst running around.
It was a mixed terrain course, but the majority of it was flat trail which was nice and easy to run. There was a couple of hills, nothing too daunting, but there were a couple of bridges that marshals warned would be slippy because of the rain we had earlier in the day.
The 10k was 2 laps of the course. It was lovely to have my family cheer me on at the halfway point and we were offered bottles of water from a sweet family. The first lap breezed by and was very enjoyable. By the time the second lap came round it was pitch black. There is very little lighting on the course too which is why headlamps are mandatory on this race. Running in the dark in the forest is not something I ever really get to do and it was a lot of fun, although I did spook myself out with my own shadow a couple of times…
Towards the 7km mark I started to struggle a bit. The headlamp was really annoying me as it kept slipping and hitting the bridge of my nose or rubbing my forehead and making me sweat more, I ended up taking it off and using it as a hand torch, and I thought I had listened to the advice about never try anything new on a race, clearly I forgot about the head torch!
I was also struggling a bit mentally too, although it is cool and unique to run in the dark, it was also a tiny bit unnerving, especially as most of the race I was running by myself. Where there were so few entrants, once everyone had settled into their pace there was pretty big gaps between everyone, it’s good as it meant no awkward attempts to overtake people, but it can also be a bit lonely.
Once I got to the final km I gave it a really big push and was very grateful to be greeted by my family at the finish line, get my finishers medal and goody bag. The goody bag was pretty good, it had a Elemis face cream in it!
I finished in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 38 seconds. I think I might’ve been quicker if it wasn’t dark for the second lap, but I’m still happy with the the time. My mum managed her 5k in 47 minutes.
If you are thinking of trying this race next year I would definitely recommend it. It’s a well organised and very family friendly event. The night time element adds something a bit different and fun and it is for a great cause.