The Winchester 10k took place on Sunday 22nd February 2015. It was a very cold, chilly morning with an early start of 9am. This is a road race that starts at the historical Winchester Guildhall and ends by the leisure centre. The course was a bit tougher than I had expected with a few, short hills. The fastest man completed it in 34:10.
The race starts by heading straight up the high-street (hence the early start) but soon takes a right and heads out towards Headbourne Worthy. The roads are not completely closed so you need to keep alert as the course goes on. There were plenty of bad drivers out that were not slowing down or paying attention to the packs of runners.
This race is organised by Offbeat Events who also organised the Romsey 5 mile. The organisation does feel a bit ‘cheap’. The chip timers are bulky and old compared to the newer, larger race organisers. They had support from cyclists who were really great along the course. They were stopped at some of the more dangerous turns and cycled back and forth to check on runners and cars passing.
The course was a bit tough at a couple of points. The short, sharp hills are generally a bit harder on the legs compared to the long sweeping ones. It didn’t take long to get to Wellhouse Lane and I knew at this point there would be a tough section once we turned back to Winchester. Then it was time to dig in and push through the aching leg muscles!
Luckily, the main road was coned-off so it gave extra room for runners to over take without the risk of running into cars on the 50 mile per hour road. The final stretch is good fun, probably the best bit of the course but you have to be careful towards the bottom of the last hill. The course organisers should have tried to get this road closed for the race.
Most runners were picking up their speed down the final hill but you have to cross over a road before you get the final sprint finish. This is a blind spot for runners with parked cars and finishers heading back out.
It would be really easy to crash into a vehicle and the organisers should have placed a marshall on traffic duty in this area. Its the final part of the race and most people will give it all they have got left.
I finished in 55 minutes. Not my best time for a 10k but I was struggling before the race had even started. I didn’t really enjoy this one as much as others. Probably a combination of a hard week of training and a tricky course.