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Race recap: The Wiltshire 10

With The Wiltshire 10 being perfectly positioned a month before my target half marathon race, it would have been rude not to sign up. This was actually my first time ever racing the 10 mile distance and provided the perfect opportunity to test myself and gauge my fitness ahead of the half. I was recommended this event by many of my fellow Avon Valley Runners due to it being very local to us and a popular option with club members - so it was lovely running with so many others in yellow! The weather on the day was a real challenge, with heavy rain and strong winds lasting the majority of the event. Having said that, it definitely didn't dampen our spirits and I left this event feeling pleased with a shiny new 10 mile PB.

The event

Stampede Sports did a brilliant job of organising this event with ample communication prior to the race, many supportive marshals out on the course and a smooth experience on the day from start to finish. Given the weather was far from ideal, the seamless organisation allowed for a painless participant experience - and the free flapjack at the finish line was a delicious godsend.

There was no specific race parking, which sometimes makes me nervous and apprehensive due to having to rely on public parking. However the communication beforehand was very detailed with a selection of recommended car parks in the local area and details on their rules. It was also a nice addition to have a dedicated race HQ where people could gather before and after the event - something we've missed from events since the pandemic.

The course

A mostly flat to undulating course throughout the Wiltshire countryside passing through the beautiful village of Lacock, this route was one to enjoy. Had the weather been a little nicer, I'd have likely had chance to admire the stunning scenery a bit more. But, it was still a really pleasant route to run with minimal elevation throughout, which is always a bonus.

The race started in the heart of Melksham, just outside of King George Park, before quickly heading out of town down country lanes towards Lacock. The middle stretch of this course was ran both ways, with a loop around Lacock at one end and finishing with a different route back into Melksham than the beginning. I'm not usually a fan of looped routes or routes that mean I'm running even just a section multiple times, however with The Wiltshire 10 I barely even acknowledged they were the same roads - which could have been due to the pelting rain.

The finish was back in King George Park with a somewhat torturous lap of the park itself before finally crossing the line. Admittedly, upon entering the park I thought I had a maximum of around 100m left to go. Reaching the brow of the small hill and spotting the finish line on the other side of the park was slightly soul-destroying. But realistically I was being dramatic, what is another 300m when you've just ran 10 miles?

Overall I really enjoyed this course and would definitely like to do it again in some sunnier conditions. 2023, here I come...

My performance and experience

This race largely boosted my confidence in my running abilities, achieving a 10 mile PB and surpassing my expectations. I crossed the finish line quite comfortably in 1:38:29, after aiming for between 1:40-1:45. The weather conditions definitely made it more of a "head down and get it done" type run but even so, I was impressed with how good I felt throughout the whole distance. My pace definitely slowed for the final few miles but I didn't feel to particularly struggle or let my pace dip below what I'd targeted. Overall The Wiltshire 10 was a success and, even though every part of my body was soaked to the skin, I left the event with a big smile on my face.

As a local event, I'd highly recommend this race. It made me realise how enjoyable the 10 mile distance is with being long enough to challenge you but not quite as far as a half marathon. Whilst training for distance, it's also nice to work in some events for your training runs as added motivation - particularly the longer ones. After this I am for sure going to be on the lookout for more 10 mile events so if anyone has any recommendations, please leave them in the comments below!

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