Friday, May 20, 2022

2022 SSAFA series race#1 - Race review

Wednesday, 18 May 2022 - I can report that it rained and it rained some more, but we ran and ran some more. It saw the return of the SSAFA 5k series (after a hiatus since 2019)**, and because of that the rain could not extinguish everyone's joy at being back at a fantastic event. Happily it was warm with the rain and so it wasn't one of those miserable running days where you chill to the bone as soon as you stop moving. The turn out was pretty strong given the forecast and it was back to running mazy loops in and around Bute park, Cardiff.

The race is based out of the Blackweir tavern and the location makes for decent access and parking. The organisation and marshalling is so en pointe and utterly positive in their approach to the runners. Being based in a pub means that the facilities are good, and that there is food and drink for before (mostly drink), during (either for those not running), and after (food for those that didn't opt to eat before the run, and of course drink for those celebrating or commiserating post run). I would have stayed out for a drink in the Blackweir were I not wet through and cold and needing a hot shower.

This is mainly attended by local clubs and being Welsh Athletics accredited gets some speedy sorts out on the course. The route is straight forwards, well marked and marshalled on really good quality park paths in the most part and new walk / cycle way for a long stretch. It is always good to be running amongst familiar faces even if we are all that much older than the last time we ran this. There were a couple of super speedy Lliswerry Juniors that I know from junior parkrun that added to the sense of how time has moved on since the last time we trod this course.

My own run? Well most everything that could go wrong in the run did - my head went, my stomach went, my sense of direction went (I took a short wrong turn at one point - see the kink in my strava track!), my legs didn't turn up, and a lack of running of late put me in the hurt locker almost immediately from the off. To be fair to myself I had started cycle commuting to work again just this week and done a club hills session the night before, so I was hardly rested. That I ate before the run was though my biggest blunder in terms of prep on the day.

The support on the way around from the Pegs (Pegasus Running Club) was an absolute highlight, and I only wish that my smile had not also been a casualty of the run. Onwards and onwards, the summer and the series is yet young!

Picture borrowed from fellow Peg, Tim Webb (from the club's facebook group album)

This was also the first tentative week in looking towards Cardiff Half training... a very tentative step indeed.

**The SSAFA 5k Road Race Series in Cardiff consists of three 5k races (spaced roughly a month apart from each other) which raises money for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, Cardiff & The Vale Region. The marshals around the course are cadet volunteers - and they absolutely know how to cheer, motive and support runners!

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