By Jess

A friend told me about the Triffic Trail 10km trail race which I could enter on the day and I thought, why not? I had been feeling like I needed another event to keep my motivation up and it would be good to see if I had retained any endurance since the London Marathon three months ago (time flies!)

10K is a weird distance for me – I only ever race 5Ks and half marathons so for me it seemed hard to strike the right speed. How much should I hold back and how much should I push?

I knew I wouldn’t get a PB as the course was known for being tough and hilly but I wanted to test my legs and see how fast I could go. In previous years the best time I had managed for 10km was just over 46 minutes – I wasn’t expecting to be able to beat that, but I was still hoping to get near that time.

I’d never been to Trent Park, and it was just lovely and tranquil and it reminded me of Hampstead Heath – undulating terrain varying from grassy to gravelly to woodsy with a bit of tarmac pavement. Rolling hills and loads of space to enjoy some peace and quiet. Except that day there were lots of supporters and several hundred runners all taking part in the race!

The first 5km went very smoothly, possibly a little quick but I certainly felt I was running well. But then we came to the first real climb at around the 6km mark and my pace slowed to 5.19/km, the slowest kilometre of the race. I managed to make up some time on the downhills thankfully.

From 8km there was a gradual uphill which seemed to go on and on and on. Because I decided to enter the day before I had no time to taper – I ran 38km earlier in the week and I couldn’t tell if I was tired because of the big hill or because I didn’t manage to taper before the race!

The last 800m or so was probably the worst bit – it was a long, grassy straight path and you could see the finish but it felt endless. I didn’t have much left to kick but managed to come in a chip time of 47:36 (4.45/km) – I was the 17th woman out of a field of 500 runners so I was really pleased with that!

I actually bumped into two other friends from law school that day – Jamie and Laurence! As it turned out, Laurence was right behind me at the finish and he pulled out a Usain-Bolt like sprint finish in the last 100m – I tried to keep up but I wasn’t quite fast enough! Still, I was very pleased with my effort – given the hills and the heat! It was a really good atmosphere at the finish with lots of music – they even gave us watermelons – which was a massive bonus.

The organisation was great, I arrived about 45 minutes before the race and I was still able to register on the day in just 5 minutes. For just £18 entry, you get a goodie bag and a good quality finisher shirt. Bargain! All in all, a great event and highly recommended!