The slightly undulating Horndon 10k – 26.06.16 by Paula Young

The Horndon 10K was on the same weekend of Harp, a 24 hour endurance race which many Flyers and other runners participated in with some outstanding distance PBs, all for a great cause.

Neil and I decided to enter the Horndon 10K (forgetting about harp) because we had heard there would be a fete afterwards which would be perfect for our 10 year old daughter Bekah.   Later reading up on it (for race report purposes), I discovered that the Horndon 10K is part of Horndon’s annual ‘Feast and Fayre’ weekend.  Which is a traditional event that dates back to the 13th century when the village was granted a Royal Charter to hold a feast and celebration on the last weekend in June, (bear with me!).

The event was revived in 1974 when 12 runners completed the first ever Horndon 10k.

The website states “The village Feast & Fayre is part of Britain’s heritage and the organisers of this event are committed to keeping that tradition alive and well in Thurrock. The preservation and enhancement of Horndon-on-the-Hill is a high priority”.  I wonder whether the residents voted in or out in the recent EU referendum?!!!  Judging by the numerous posters there did seem to be some opposition to option C (something to do with building a tunnel under the Thames and downgrading the area from a green belt to a brown belt….I’m not sure what karate has to do with it I’m sure….).  Anyway a race report is no place for politics!

As the date got nearer we realised that after taking advantage of nearly everyone we knew with Bekah sitting, we had no one left to take her to the fete whilst we ran.  That is how we ended up taking my in-laws (beggars can’t be choosers!) who whilst having hearts of gold seem to have an opinion on everything, which they are not afraid to voice, often in very loud voice……. In fact attending the junior school sports day the week before my mother-in-law in full voice and amongst a crowd of parents said ‘look at that girl fourth from the left she looks like she is pregnant’ I kid you not!


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The event for the first year was run by the Thurrock Harriers, rather than the rotary club. The medals were promised to be much better this year too with the first 100 receiving gold, 101-200 receiving silver and…you’ve guessed it 201+ receiving bronze.

Numbers were collected on the day and there was no bag drop.  I was slightly concerned when the chip on the back of the number said ‘do not bend,

but there were no issues.

Horndon-on-the-Hill, despite never having heard of it before is literally half an hour’s drive away.  The start time was 11am and they were accepting last minute entries on the day.  Parking was pretty terrible, we got there at 9.40am and I think we got the only remaining space.  Apparently there were a couple of car parks which we didn’t find so street parking prevailed.  This did not seem to sour relationships with the residents as the support was AMAZING (I don’t hold political grudges!).  The residents lined the streets, children were cheering and some even had hose pipes to spray the runners with.

Water was handed out in cups at about 2 and 4 miles.  After wearing most of the first one I decided to actually stop and drink the second one.  I reckon that must have cost me the 5:32 that Neil beat me by!!!

The course involved running through the town with a lot of jostling for space as it was quite narrow with stalls and supporters lining the street (great atmosphere!).  You then ran down a long steep hill (the clue is in the name!), then back up what felt like a longer and steeper hill and past the stalls and supporters again.  There were 2 loops around country roads which were described as ‘undulating’.  I honestly can’t remember at any point descending!  After the 2nd loop you run through a farm track where there was a marshal who shouted ‘you’re nearly there’ and I could have cried with relief thinking hopefully the course had been measured inaccurately as my watch was still showing a further 1.5K (it hadn’t).  You then had to run partly back up the long hill again and round the bend to the finish.

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Immediately as I crossed the finish line I was met by a very enthusiastic bunch of cadets who literally thrust a medal around my neck.  There was nowhere to move and after a race I like a bit of space.  I reckon they had a competition to see who could be the first to get the medal around people’s necks.  It wasn’t until a few minutes after that I heard someone shout ‘get the bronze medals ready’.  What the hell…..?  That meant I got a silver medal, so chuffed!

It was great to be greeted by Bekah and Neil and surprisingly even the in-laws Hugh and Carole.  I love EVERYONE after a race!  Apparently Simon whilst being greeted by his family at the end just missed out on a gold medal!  Neil finished in the top 100 and received a gold medal, very well deserved.  Judging by the photos of Simon he had found it very tough (sorry Simon!) but both boys supported each other and finished with a sub 50 minute, a PB for them both.  Other Flyers participants were Gareth Davies supporting a Welsh top

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and Becca Regan and Liz Jude who I didn’t see.  Their results can be found here:  The winner was Paul Whittaker in a very respectable 33:00….something to aim for in the next one!

There were only 320 participants out of a potential 600 which was a real shame for the organisers.  It would have been VERY cosy with 600 runners however and I wouldn’t have stood a chance of receiving a silver medal, so every cloud……!

I found the course very scenic but very, very challenging and felt like I had no energy to tackle the hills (I usually love hills!).  However, probably like everyone else who finishes a tough race thought ‘that was great, let’s do it again next year’.

There was something for everyone, craft fairs, tombola, climbing walls, pubs, bouncy castles, food, fudge, raffle, children’s Roald Dahl challenges and afternoon tea.  I would recommend the race for anyone who loves hills, running with a great atmosphere and something a bit different afterwards.

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