THE HEAT IS ON...
Hello dudes! Yesterday I ventured to the southern reaches of the Cotswolds to take part in the ever popular Fairford 10K. The race is a popular fixture on the Gloucestershire Road Race fixture list and regularly fills up quick. So it proved again on Sunday as 400 hardly souls took to the start line next to Fairford Cricket Club to start this year's race.
Set in lovely surroundings the event is held to coincide with the town's yearly festival so there were plenty of spectators buzzing around in anticipation. The route took us out through the familiar limestone constructed buildings of a typical Cotswold town and down over the River Coln next to Fairford Mill.
Crossing the river and mill pond via a delightful bridge we then made our way up a steep road which continued to climb for quite some distance. A quick dip in the route gave some welcome relief but it was soon followed by another harsh climb until we reached the pictoresque village of Quenington.
Before the race started the forecasted hot sun had not arrived and a slight chill in the air actually bought much comfort to the assembling contingent of runners. But no sooner had we started than the old current bun finally showed up and rewarded (or rather, punished) the field by burning bright throughout.
Fortunately on the outward route the sun was on our backs and there was quite a bit of shade to be had at the halfway point. But all that changed drastically as we crossed over the River Coln once more and climbed out onto the Roman Road leading back to Fairford.
Although flat, the road was long and straight as most Roman Roads are! The energy sapping sun was now in our faces and played havoc with many a weary runner. That said, it was mostly downhill now back to Fairford and the welcome sight of the finish line after a short lap of the town.
Amongst our runners Paul Booth looked ice cool in the heat and finished high up the roster in 116th place in a scorching time of 46:53.
Mike Ward, sporting a tan Kev Emmerson can only dream of, made it look ridiculously easy finishing 314th in 1:04:44.
As for myself, I'm afraid the sun took it out of me as I had to stop at the 8km mark and take in some refreshment as well as some instruction from Bourton Road Runner's Norman Lane.
Sadly the only advice he could give me was that I'd better start running again as Mike Ward had just overtaken me! I turned around and discovered in horror that it was true as the smiling octogenarian waved goodbye to me as he sped past.
Despite my best efforts I couldn't haul Mike back again and finished 321st in 1:06:00.
I am now in bed suffering from sunstroke and a sunburnt bonce.
The joys of running...