The weekend just gone was shaping up to be a busy one. It was the opening weekend of Norwich Cocktail Week, on Saturday we were booked to run the Clapham Tough Mudder with Black Tower Wine, and on Sunday morning we’d managed to snag last-minute waiting list spots for the Marriott’s Way 10k.
Sadly, some last-minute issues meant we were unable to make the Tough Mudder event in London, still, we thought, at least Marriott’s Way is local, and every year we’ve run it (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018) the weather has been beautiful. Even the year there was torrential rain the day before, and the day there was rain right up until 20 minutes before the race and then the sun came out for an hour.
On Sunday morning I awoke to the sound of the pitter patter of rain on the window. BBC Weather advised me it would be torrential rain all morning, but I still secretly hoped it would ease off a little.
It did not.
As I picked up my race number wearing a bin bag the absurdity of deciding to get out of bed to run 10k in the torrential rain started to hit me.
We scurried to the start line as late as possible for our 11:30 start, and everyone stood around the edges of a huge puddle in the centre of the path before shuffling off over the line.
I don’t own any properly waterproof running kit, so I’d opted for a hat and the same hoodie top I wore to run the horribly rainy Norwich Half in 2014.
I tucked my phone in a plastic bag in the pocket of my jacket, and spent the first 2k worrying about it getting absolutely drenched. It was too wet to take it out to look at it to check, so I just worried about it. Till I realised it linked to my watch to use the GPS, so as long as my Fitbit was still counting miles, it was probably fine.
Now I’d stopped worrying about my phone it gave me extra brain power left over to worry about drowning or breaking my ankle. At least the Norwich Half involved running on nice flat tarmac roads in the rain, Marriott’s Way was basically one big puddle with a tiny strip of grass down either side, edged with brambles and nettles.
Step on the wrong piece of ground trying to dodge a puddle and it gave way underneath you, splash through the centre of puddles and discover that they were actually calf deep and you had to do high knees to get through them.
Marriott’s Way is normally a pretty fast one, but today I did not care. After being guided round one sink hole by a Marshall I immediately stepped in another that was knee deep.
I wondered what would happen if I went up to a Marshall and just refused to keep running and demanded a cab to the finish?
I did not do this, obviously, instead I just kept running and pondering whether this was my punishment for having to drop out of Tough Mudder.
The atmosphere on the course was actually lovely. There was a sense of camaraderie amongst those of us stupid enough to actually turn up as we cheered the arrival of each kilometre marker and fantasised about a nice hot cup of tea.
The one benefit of the rain, the uneven ground and the puddles was that I did not go at all fast, which meant that I did not flag in the slightest in the last portion of the race and even had some energy left for a little sprint up the nice tarmac road at the end.
I finished in 1 hour 11 minutes and 42 seconds, and I literally do not care. I could have gone faster in better conditions, but in these conditions, nah, that was all I had!
This year Marriott’s Way 10k has gone eco-friendly. The cups at the water station were paper, the finishers medal was made of wood and we were handed reusable plastic cups of water instead of bottles at the end, and no goodie bags.
At this point I felt pretty good. It was over, no more mud. I was proud of myself for getting out of bed and trudging through mud.
20 minutes later sat in the car I realised I was so cold I may never be warm again, fortunately we were clever enough to bring a flask of coffee, a dry jumper and a towel to sit on, even if we still had to do the trip home with legs that looked like this.
As I love the Marriott’s Way 10k so much I am assuming now that this is my only rainy race that will happen for another 5 years and I will definitely be running again.
Next up, Trowse 10k at the end of October. Fingers crossed for the weather!