Southend 10K Race Report by Kelly Jones

 

the sights, the sounds, the whoops, the laughs, the hugs, the jumps, the hi5s

 

A bright sunny Sunday in Southend, 2nd October 2016 saw in the 31st Southend 10k.

The event has been running for a long time and I wonder how many runners have taken part during that time and if there are any runners who have completed them all, I know a good many of the Flyers were revisiting this race and that it has become an annual event for them. (I did try to google this information to stun you all with my statistical knowledge of the Southend 10k but my investigations were fruitless, oh the shame)

The Southend 10k is very well planned out with lots of support on route from marshals, local residents and other runners it’s a lovely friendly race and an ideal first 10k for anyone starting out in running as I was last year.

 

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For me this year, this race was the mark of my “raceiversary” as last year when I took part it was my first ever race, a whole 10km I must say looking back I was a bundle of nerves and hoped I would make the distance and finish in a good time, I had to have Graham and Anne help me to attach my chip to my shoe because my hands were all aquiver. This year the nerves were gone, so were the chips! and I was able to enjoy the buzz, great atmosphere and the comradery that is ever present with the Flyers.

The pre-race area in Southchurch Park East is well planned out with easy collection of race numbers, a baggage drop off, port-a-loos aplenty, and refreshments too.

Leading up to the 10k this year I have been following the #Passingham marathon training plan in readiness for Chelmsford marathon but unfortunately the week leading up to the 10k I was unwell, so was unsure if I should take part. I took on the advice of a wise woman I know and I “womaned-up!” I couldn’t miss it, a morning out with the Flyers is always fantastic medicine anyway.

I arrived at 9.15am which gave me plenty of time to prepare my race number (got it on straight first time) and use the facilities, don’t worry this is not going to be like my last race report … and taking on board advice, myself Kay and Sally managed a little warm up trot around the field too.

There were over 80 flyers taking part in this year’s 10k, some doing their first ever race with nervous excitement and some in double figures. It’s so lovely to see the amazing support among the Flyers, looking around the group it really is a proper family feel and you just feel so grateful to be a part of something so special.

 

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Just before 10am, after the group photos and various selfies have been taken, the crowd move towards the starting area adjacent to Southchurch Park ready for the off. I was so excited to spot my children there as a surprise to wave me off from the start, I got pre-race kisses and cuddles too.

We were off, up towards the seafront and left all the way along towards Gunners Park, as I turned the corner on to the front I could see there were plenty of orange tops bobbing up and down on the road ahead with some of the speedy ones already a good distance ahead little clusters of orange running together, some alone.

On route there were lots of shouts of encouragement from fellow Flyers and marshals and from lots of fledgling flyers to. Before even reaching the halfway point I spotted the lead runner, Adam Hickey (annoyingly making it look far too easy) on his return towards the finish. Absolutely awesome running!

 

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As you turn the corner near the Harvester there is a much need water station, and at this part of the run there were lots of shouts of support back and forth between the runners heading to and from the turnaround point with some great hi 5ing opportunities.

As you enter Gunners Park you enter the part of the course which is a reverse Southend parkrun. I struggled here! I’ve decided that’s because I was going the wrong way my brain didn’t like it.

As I reached the seawall I looked across to the right what a sight, I wished I had my phone for a quick picture of all the clusters of orange as far as you could see amongst a sea of runners with a rainbow of coloured tops all running to the beat. It looked like one of those mass dance off’s that you see on you tube.

Once you get along the sea wall you see the 5k sign and you know you are half way there, that puts a little spring back into your step. Once you have turned the corner you are back out on to the road, there was a bit of a breeze coming back along that I hadn’t noticed on my way out but maybe that’s because it was behind me pushing me on rather than slowing me a little.

Heading back in towards Southend the support was amazing. Lloyd and Donna were among the first people giving everyone so much encouragement. As the crowds built heading in towards the finish the support from everyone really does push you on.

 

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The last km is really hard as you have to turn and go back on yourself in your head you are saying yay getting closer not long now, then as you run past Lifstan Way, your brain says oh no getting further away!  Although what is really lovely is seeing and hearing the runners coming the other way I’ve decided though out of all the supporters and runner’s, Flyers definitely win the award for the loudest!! So I obviously fit right in!!

Coming in on the final half km I could see Vanessa and Kay just ahead of me then I spotted my children waving on the corner so after a couple of hi5’s they took off running with me down to the finish line it was so lovely having the children run down that final stretch with me toward the finish line screaming run mum! sprint finish!!

After crossing the finish line and claiming my medal and getting sweaty hugs off my fellow runners I thought to myself, I loved that and I really did can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny Sunday morning.

Well done to all those who enjoyed their first ever race. To those who achieved new pbs and to those who did an 8 mile “warm up” (yes little 8mile warm up!! Madness!) prior to the run. First three Flyers across the finish line;  1)Matt Barrett 40:09 (shaving 31seconds off his pb) 2) Sean McFarlane 42:53, and 3) Alex Thornton 45:21.

I hope everyone enjoyed the morning, the sights, the sounds, the whoops, the laughs, the hugs, the jumps, the hi5s, as much as I did.

See you again next year Southend 10k

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