LOSS 10k report by Nisha Jacob
A massive contrast to the bright sunny start to Southend 10K two weeks ago, I woke up to a steady pattering of raindrops the morning of Leigh 10K. Having only done one 10K race with the Flyer family, I was very excited to register for the Leigh 10K. I woke up nice and early to get over my pre-race nerves, pottered about and had my porridge breakfast whilst the rest of the house stayed asleep. Did a checklist for my keys, my water backpack (I can’t run without water!), jacket, phone arm band, fully charged mobile and I was off. As I was driving past Leigh station, I saw a few faces I recognised, many Flyers amongst them. However, this race was not graced with as strong a Flyer presence as Southend 10K due to a fair few Flyers doing the Wimbledon Half.
Once I’d parked up around 8:30 a.m, I ran into my running buddy Nila and Samantha Maddocks and we walked up to the start together. Parking was only £1 for the whole day – bonus! A quick bag drop and then we all huddled under the big weeping willow within the Leigh Golf Range premises. The whipping wind and rain caused everyone to pull their jackets tighter around them and we could hardly see any Flyers orange!
As we stood to use the facilities, we ran into Anne Purdham coming in and begged her to turn the sunshine on! We then saw Erika Diez and Debby Hard. It was time for some pre-race selfies!
As it edged closer to start time, there was a quick briefing – the jackets started to come off and the orange started to surface. Nila and Sam were injured so taking it slow and I wasn’t that confident as to how I was going to get on with the hills so we made our way all the way to the back. And we were off at 9:30 a.m. And guess what – Anne managed to work her magic – even the sun was peeking out.
We ran past Leigh station then onto Belton Way – the first of many hills (as I was soon going to find out!). There were lots of supporters on the flat stretch at the top of the hill, lots of them families and friends of those running. Lin Taylor – one woman Flyer support crew – she was awesome – she seemed to pop up everywhere to take photos and give us Hi5s when we needed them the most! We looped back down and then ran through Old Leigh past the Boatyard. I always find this part of Leigh very quaint with its cobbled paths. Further on and on we went. I had lost Nila and Sam at this point as I stopped to help Erika with her water backpack. As I was jogging along, I struck up a conversation with Lisa Heart who happens to be a new Flyer but she didn’t have her T-shirt yet so I didn’t recognise her as a Flyer. We chatted for a bit and then I jogged on and went past Chalkwell beach and then on to the seafront. Some fabulous estuary views with hazy sunshine across this stretch.
The marshalling was great, with lots of friendly cheering and support. The water station was very welcome at that point (well I have water with me all the time – but I could see how much it meant to those running without!). As we turned on to Chalkwell Avenue, we had great support from one mini Strider which was fantastic to see. The incline on Chalkwell Avenue on the other hand was not that fantastic! I had been told Leigh 10K was hilly but this was giving a whole new dimension to hills!
I found Nila and Sam again and we went along the Ridgeway together and then up Marine Parade (anyone say hill???). Lots of cheering from the marshalls but my legs were not loving me by this point. Hills, hills and more hills. Not that long to go – a marshall says. One last hill! Really??? I’ve driven around Leigh so many times – never realised just how many inclines (That’s just an euphemism! They are really hills! Sorry Papa Keith!) there were!
Who knew having your name on a T-shirt would come in so handy? Lots of shout outs from marshalls calling out my name which really does give you a massive boost.
We went up the bridge back down to the Boatyard, nearly ready to give up and the marshall says – this is the last one! Ermmm that’s what the last marshall said. We carried on from there and were diverted to the finish area which was off road. That last stretch felt like the longest kilometre ever. My legs were truly tired and this was after all the Flyers Wednesday sessions! Yikes! I don’t think I’d have managed this race without the hill training.
The finish line was such a welcome sight. I barely managed a sprint finish, let alone a PB but I was happy to have got through it all. For someone who avoided every hill in sight up until May this year, it was a big achievement to finish the race. We were handed a glass of bubbly right after the finish (well it is Leigh on Sea after all!) and a goody bag, the contents of which were devoured rather quickly!
Lots of finish line selfies and big smiles and cheers. And the rain stayed away – we even finished in gorgeous autumnal sunshine. My legs were really going to hate me but no time to think about that whilst basking in the post-race high. We even got one picture with the best photo bomb ever from Bosco!
Did I love Leigh 10K? Let’s say I liked it – a lot! I enjoyed the buzz of Southend 10K a lot more, partly because I found it rather liberating running on a road. And there was also the opportunity to cheer fellow runners on a lot more (I like a bit of shouting me!). But Leigh 10K has a different feather in its cap. It has a more exacting route and offers more of a challenge. Will I do it again? Most definitely.
Thank you to all our friends at LOSS for a great race!