Dronfield Town 10k – In Garmin we trust?
Race date: Monday, 6 May 2019
With my fell running background I thought this one should be a good race for me.
I can’t drive so I set off from S7 on my road bike with an hour and a half to get to the start, register, have a natter and warm up. Plenty of time I thought….
It didn’t turn out like that. The previous night I didn’t sleep too great so I was a bit dozy when I set off. When I got to Dronfield after about 45 minutes of gentle pootling on the bike I realised I didn’t really know where the race start was. Don’t worry I thought – have faith in the Garmin and all will be well. 99% of the time that tends to be the case – not so today – I ended up in the middle of nowhere some 1.5 miles away from the start with 15 minutes until gun time. So I pulled myself together and rattled my way back to the train station burning a few matches in the process. Later, Dronny local Strider Jimmy Sharman confirmed that I was literally 400m from the start before I went the wrong way! Anyway, panting outside the train station, I asked a local person where the race was. Initially he looked at me in a suspect manner and when he realised I was one of those ‘nutcase’ runners he thankfully pointed me in the right direction.
When I arrived at the start, breathing heavy, the race pack were listening to the starter give his instructions. I locked up the bike. I waddled awkwardly in my clip-in cycling shoes to the tent to get my number, “It’s the other tent you need love!” said the nice marshal. Typical. “One minute to go!” I heard on the announcement. I waddled again to the other tent. “Can I have my number please, my name is Adrian Fisher?” Stood there in my bright green hi-viz jacket and helmet I might have looked a bit out of place. “The Fun Run has already set off I’m afraid”. “I know”, I said, “I’m here for the main race”. “It’s about to start now,” said the lady. “I know,” I said. She quickly handed me my number and I started to undress quickly outside the tent.
It’s easy to get cold riding to a race so I was fully togged up. Helmet, trousers, jacket, club jumper, and those clip-in cycling shoes were all hastily thrown in the rucksack. I heard a loud ”Go!” and the race had started. ”Arse,” I said to myself. I threw my bag in the tent and I quickly began putting my trainers on. Double knots mind – no need to be sloppy. With no time to pin on my number I scrunched it up in my hand and hurdled the containing rope and headed toward the start. In the rush I even forgot to take off my cycling gloves off. As the attached photo shows, not a great look. I’m calling it my Madonna phase. I crossed the start line roughly 30–45 seconds after everyone else – quite an odd feeling.
Pumped up from the ride in I probably set off a bit too fast trying to make up ground but after a mile or so I settled myself down. There was a huge green and gold throng of runners heading out of the sports ground. A very impressive turn out from the Club.
To my mind the course is quite a tough 10k but very scenic and despite having open roads is fairly traffic free. The good weather meant that the off-road sections were entirely runnable, although if I am honest I did walk the hill that the locals use for sledging. The elevation coupled with the off-roading means the course isn’t a PB opportunity but what it does have is variety. There is a nice long downhill road section which allows you to claw some of your time lost on the climbs.
Overall I managed to place 23rd which I was happy with taking into account the pre-race nonsense.
I’d recommend this friendly race to any runner who is perhaps thinking about entering a fell/trail race and wants to dip their toe in. Just make sure you know where the start is before you set off.
Full Striders results for this race are at: https://www.steelcitystriders.co.uk/2019/dronfield-town-fc-10k-2019-result/