Mersea Island 10 – all the tens but £9 entry…

Week 10 of Stort training plan – 10 miles. Date of Mersea Island 10 = week 10 of plan. Result! Cost is just £9 to enter for either the 5 or 10 miler – must be the cheapest organised road race around. So, entered early.

Football fixtures published and calamity! Southend away to Coventry the day before! Let me explain – I had promised my oldest son that we would go to the Coventry and Walsall away games as he lives in the West Midlands. Rearrange with son to travel up Friday and come home Saturday after the game, ready for Mersea. Sorted! Then game switched to Monday, evening kick-off. Rearrange again – travel directly from Mersea. Sorted! P.s. Walsall game is on Brighton Marathon weekend, so missing that one too.

Race day dawns: loaded up boot ready for trip and set Satnav for Mersea Island car park and arrived ready to pick up number. Bump into Laura, hubby Ben, Laura 2 and Elizabeth – all making their Flyers debuts. Hand over Laura’s Flyers vest, hot off the HUKE press. Spot other Flyers already there and others as they arrive. Lots of friendly, encouraging banter, in true Flyers fashion. Found the café and had a kp1refreshing pre-race cuppa.

Readied myself for the race and decided to be positive and go with speedy shades in case sun showed itself. I then joined the other Flyers at the start line – both the 5 and 10 start at the same time, so we were all together for the obligatory selfie.

Run buddy Karen has the jelly babies, Garmin signal found so ready for the off. Lovely chat with Steve, a Flyer from the early days, now living in North Essex. Crowd claps (?) ….. and again (?). Then we are off.

Karen and I have decided to run at a nice chatty pace and admire the scenery. We were being overtaken by loads of runners as we made our way along the prom and up a residential road that was one long gentle hill. A right turn and we were into the countryside. Lovely friendly marshals directed the traffic, several armed with red flags – a great idea that I’ve never seen before. We were now running on the road and a fair amount of traffic was passing us, some quite close.

We then started to go downhill and suddenly see a fantastic view of the causeway and surrounding water. Trouble is that we know that the hill comes next! We redouble our efforts on the downhill, going past Steve, Maggie and Vicky. We then attack the hill with a kp2couple of songs – trouble is, we can only remember the first lines! Drink station at the top is welcome, then off into the town section where we are caught by Elizabeth who is running a storming race. We quicken to pace her, but then we remember we are doing the 10 and she is only doing the 5! We ease off and let her go once we reach a long gentle downhill section. At the end, we spot Lin and Val, who cheer us up a horrible little incline – and we had to look good for the camera.

Then back onto the prom, where we spot crowds in the distance. When we get there, most runners seem to turn off left – to the 5 mile finish. Karen and I are almost alone now.

On the little uphill section, we come across a young female runner trying to get this young rotund male runner to tackle the hill using pony steps! She even gave us all an exaggerated version for us to copy – er, no thank you, I’ll stick to the LBD on hills!

The next part of the race consisted of thinking of as many running/road related songs as we could and singing the first lines – neither of us could remember the rest! By the time we got to the hill again, Karen was reduced to “Horsey, horsey” which she sang all the way through whilst going uphill – I was well impressed. Much better than pony steps!

After recovering, having a drink and jelly baby, we cracked on, gradually increasing the kp3pace – Karen was really running strongly again. We stormed the last mile, our quickest, including the horrible little incline, and were greeted by tremendous Flyer support over the final 100m and finishing straight.

A great run with my run buddy with lots of laughs, chat and songs. We join the other Flyers, swap stories and cheer home the last few orange warriors. Flyer newbie racers all thoroughly enjoyed their runs, as did the majority of the orange army. Line up for finish line group photo with our club flag and totally disrupt the presentation ceremony, despite them using a PA system.

kp4Some have to go, but the rest of us head off for the Flyers Mersea picnic. I take my Iceland bag but gentleman Jim is spotted with a glass of bubbly, soon to be followed by Tina, John and Maggie. Rich produced his protein heavy post-race snack – boiled egg and pork pie. The picnic was a great way to round off the run.

As we were about to leave, we hear that the causeway is closed and we are trapped on the island – that’s putting my eta in the Midlands back. After queuing for some time, I eventually get off the island and settle down for a long drive. After some time, the car starts to lose power and eventually the clutch goes on the M25. To cut a long story short, I never made it to my son’s, missed what looked like a great game of football (already bought tickets!) and had to sort out a car repair.

Not the best way to end the day but I’ve raced the Mersea 10 many times and still enjoy it. For the cost, it is a great race, although some cars did get rather close especially as the field thinned out on the second lap. Medal was no more than you would expect for a charity race charging £9 entry.

Thanks to all the Flyers and supporters for a great day out. Same time, same place next year!

Link for Ian Bancroft’s video


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