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Monday, 14 October 2019

2 Castles 10k Run: Bring Me My BROWN Shorts

This 10k race fills up insanely quickly. It’s basically the London Marathon of rural Warwickshire. Loads of people want in and get really stroppy when they don’t and announce that they didn’t want to do it anyway and bang on about there being other 10ks ... 

And it IS a lovely race. It starts at Warwick Castle in Warwick and finishes at Kenilworth Castle … in Kenilworth. So no getting lost in this race. Basically you go to the named town, find the massive castle and run to the next massive castle.

It’s 99% lanes and it’s closed roads which is lovely but it’s in June and there is NO SHADE. It’s also a bit bumpy. It’s certainly not a PB course so if you get a personal best time here you’ve clearly been wearing your concrete trainers at the other events.

FLATLAY! (Although decided to wear my ASICS RoadHawk FF in the end instead of my ASICS Gel-DS)

For a very local race starting at 0900, I had to leave the house at 0645. Which just seems wrong. There is no way I can get to the proper coffee saturation point unless I get up at 0300. And I’m not doing that for a 10k. Unless it’s a REALLY interesting one and there’s lava and a REALLY good goody bag at the end. I just have to accept that I’m going to be grumpy and half-awake until about 3k into the run.

Someone who is also a nightmare unless caffeinated is my training buddy and lift to the start, Rich, who is a miserable bastard without coffee. How his wife has not beaten him to death in the morning I do not know. Unless she refuses to speak to him unless he's had at least two cups of coffee. Luckily he’d had coffee this morning.

It was a 20 minute walk to where the race starts. The organisers are a bit mean and don’t allow into the castle the quick way but make you walk about around the perimeter of the grounds before you can get in. Luckily I know the area so we parked up at St Nicks and then walked up to the castle. At which point, we promptly got lost. I don’t know how I got lost when I could see the castle the whole time but it got to a point when I was debating with Rich whether it was feasible to climb over walls to get to the race start and whether it counted as a warmup or not. Clearly I should have been doing an obstacle run rather than a road 10k and Rich should have been in some sort of debating club as I lost the argument and the chance to climb a wall and was made sulkily to walk back the right way and circle around the castle to get to the start. At least we were having a really good warm up with all this walking.

Also if I shout “I know the way!” I probably don’t and should be ignored.

As we walked in we were confronted by arrows to 2 different starts: WCAA league and runners. No idea what WCAA was (apart from the noise an attacking parrot makes) so went in the ‘Runners’ arrow direction. 



On the way, we spotted a fellow Rugby Tri club member, James who appeared to have coordinated kit beforehand with Rich. They were wearing a matching set but I wasn’t sure which one was Tweedledee and which was Tweedledum though and didn’t like to ask.

Last time I’d run this event, loos had been a nightmare. I’d queued for 45 minutes and missed everyone getting into the start pens and was so far back from the start line I could practically see the start of next years event. THIS year, loo queues weren’t too bad at all which was lucky as I had a horrific stomach upset and DID NOT want to be THAT runner. I have enough weird nicknames without ALSO being known as Shitty McShit Pants

After my visit to the plastic cubes of poo, we had a wander around the sections of the castle which were open. An official let us down to WCAA area (completely ‘attacking-parrot-free’) and as I spotted the local running club shirts and my own club vests – Northbrook, I realised that I was indeed a WCAA runner whatever that was. Oh well. I had had a 50% chance of getting it right. 

Had a natter with the Northbrookers and had a group photo taken with the most dramatic background ever. It looked as though we were waiting for the Quidditch to start.

Pic taken on my phone byAngela Hands

We were called to line up at the start and as usual I had been distracted by chatting and lined up miles back from the start line. Oh well … it didn’t matter and it wasn’t as if I was going for a time this year. Quite frankly, the way my stomach had been I would be lucky to avoid getting a new nickname. I lined up with the other runners and wished I’d worn my brown shorts.

My Garmin lost the GPS signal as the start pens are in a winding tiny lane with high walls fringed with rhododendrons and covered over with tree branches. There was no view of the sky and it was like trying to get a signal in a well. 

I had decided that I wasn’t going to check the watch for pace, I was simply going to run at ‘slightly uncomfortable pace’ whatever that was. I decided to enjoy the route and see how many Northbrook shirts I could find. The starburst tops are easy to spot and there were lots of us. Ok. Northbrook shirts. This could be today’s game to get me through the miles. I’d started a long way back from the start which helped as there should be lots of people to find in front of me. 



The sun was out and it was pretty warm. It was shaping up to be a lovely June day and with no shade, I was relieved that the race had started at 0900 rather than any later when it would be decidedly toasty.

The first 3km absolutely flew past. I was running at a nice pace and could keep this up for a while ... which probably meant I was running too slowly. But I was having a nice time and passing more runners than were passing me. Granted … some of them were in fancy dress and appeared to be walking but I was definitely counting them. Ah … an old man in a deckchair in his garden cheering the runners on. Yep. I was counting him too.

I didn’t realise I’d got so used to long distances as I’d barely warmed up by the time I got to 7km and then there were only 3km to go … I was still enjoying it at the point but I’d started remembering why I ran longer distances. There were snacks, chats and walking up hills … ah hills. I’d forgotten The Hill. This hill which is clearly a minor blip on any day other than race day but on today it was quite mountainous, especially when going at a pace usually reserved for catching disappearing ice cream trucks and oh-shit-the-cat’s-got-out. 

But I made it. And I was still smiling. And by the time I got to the top, I’d reached the houses. And where the houses ended, the castle began. So I was practically finished,

Wasn’t I?

Bloody hell. I forgot they made us run through the car park, over the drawbridge and through the castle grounds.

I can SEE the castle, can’t I stop now? 

No apparently not. And we’re going to make you run uphill for the last bit too,

OH GOODY. <uses ALL THE SARCASM in the world>

And over the finish line and done.

And I didn’t even need to wear my brown shorts.




TLDR; didn’t throw up, didn’t cry on the hills, didn’t shit self and didn’t need a swim and bike first! Hooray!

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