After an extensive break between my last two events, it’s only been a 2 week break this time! Entering this event was a no-brainer (after I got the physio’s OK!) as the former Henley Classic (now the Glenelg Classic) was my first ever fun run, 8 whole years ago! I try to do it every year where possible. There is a 5km and 10km option, and I always go with the 5km as that was what I did 8 years ago and it’s nice to sort of be able to compare each year.
My first Henley Classic was in 2012 (signed up a week before the event, and at the time I wasn’t a runner so I had to become one very quickly!) where I ran a very respectable 26:29 (I don’t think I had a goal time in mind – I don’t think I would even have known what a good 5k time was at that stage!). 12 months later I returned, and predictably improved significantly on that time, running it in 23:09. That was the last time I ran it at Henley, as the following year I was interstate and the year after that it was cancelled due to works in the area and subsequently moved to Glenelg.
I’d only run the Glenelg Classic twice before, in 2016 (PB of 22:24 and a bonus 3rd place!) and 2017 (22:33 and 4th after going out way too fast – if only I’d re-read THAT report before this year’s run!)
In 2018 I was in Hobart tackling the Point to Pinnacle, and let’s not mention 2019!
The course had changed from my last time running it – previously the start/finish was at Glenelg North but this time it was in the heart of Glenelg, starting and finishing at Wigley Reserve. I allowed extra time to get there, given that it is a more popular spot and I thought parking may be an issue, but fortunately I was able to get a street park very close.
With social distancing being a thing, we were discouraged from arriving early and hanging around afterwards, so I made a quick portaloo stop (you know the permanent facilities are pretty rank when the portaloo is the better option – actually they were very fancy portaloos, with mirrors and everything!) and then went for a quick warmup run along the foreshore. It was already getting quite busy (it would only have been about 7:15am by this stage) so I expected the route to be quite congested by the time we started running about half an hour later!
This was the first SARRC event I’d done since COVID (and indeed since Barossa Marathon Festival in September last year) so the ‘trickle start’ was new to me but did seem to work very well. The only issue I could see was that if you were a podium contender it would be hard to know who was ‘ahead’ of you and who was ‘behind’ you, as we were in 3 chutes, setting off at 10 second intervals, and the timing started from when you crossed the mat. This was not an issue for me, fortunately! (We had had to indicate an estimated time at registration to aid with the wave starts – I forget exactly what I put down but I think it was about 22:40 which at the time I thought was pretty ambitious but hopefully not too far off the mark)
The numbers were pretty impressive given the current (COVID) climate and the forecast maximum of 37 degrees (admittedly most people would have entered before they knew that). 322 were registered for the 10km of whom there were 277 finishers, and in the 5km there were 172 registered and 163 finishers (I guess the weather was less of a factor for the 5km which started earlier and hopefully would be over relatively quickly!)
The course was well marked and marshalled, so there was never any danger of making a wrong turn. The timing of the 5k and 10k start was perfect as we got to see the 10km runners heading out as we were on our way back but the course was never congested that I saw (randoms with dogs aside, of course!)
Early on I heard someone cheering for me, I couldn’t see who it was so I said “I have no idea who that is but thanks!!” – turned out to be regular running buddies Kate and Beck (also the aforementioned physio – good thing she gave me the all clear to run – might have been a bit awkward otherwise!)
I only took advantage of one drink station, just past the halfway mark, just a quick grab, gulp and go! Ordinarily I wouldn’t drink in a 5k and I probably would have been fine without it, but it was very much appreciated! As far as I could tell there was plenty of water out on course especially given the weather.
On the way out I was running on the right side of the path for a bit, people behind me were probably wondering why, but there was method in my madness – I was trying to get one of the sprinklers to go on me! Eventually I succeeded, and moved back to the left, where there was a group of RMA runners cheering us all on.
After what seemed like an eternity I reached the turnaround (Lachy was the turnaround marshal who commented that he was looking forward to my race report – which was the furthest thing from my mind at that stage!) and the aforementioned drink station. Not long after that, it started to rain very lightly which was very welcome relief but unfortunately it was very short-lived. As I passed the RMA group again, Michelle said she had ordered the rain for me!
Now there was not a lot of elevation in this course as it turns out (according to the source of all knowledge, Strava, it was only 11m) but on the way out there seemed to be some very steep hills! Maybe it was because I had gone out too fast. (Had I learned nothing from 2017? Apparently!) Maybe it’s time to start using pace alerts again!
My splits were:
The last kilometre seemed to go for an eternity especially when we got back to the reserve and the finish line was right there but we had to run a lap around the reserve to get to it! Seems a bit unfair if you ask me!
I’m not sure exactly what the MC was saying as I was approaching the finish line, I heard my name and I think something like ‘hotly contested’ which I took to mean there was someone breathing down my neck so I did a bit of a sprint finish which probably makes my last km look a bit more respectable! My official time was 22:57 which I later found out put me in 4th out of the females (eerily similar to the last time I’d run this event – albeit slightly slower and definitely way hotter!) so I was pretty happy with that.
The medals were really nice too!
After having a couple of waters and an apple to rehydrate and refuel, I went back to my car where I had a message from Beck to say she and Kate were nearby at Henley if I wanted to join them. I found them in the water by the jetty and it seemed very appropriate that I would end up there given that that was where my first running event had been held!
Thanks to all the fantastic volunteers who were out there on a hot morning (again, they had probably signed up to volunteer before they knew how hot it was going to be, but were still there with smiles for all) and congratulations to the organisers for putting on a great event in challenging circumstances!
Next year I hope to pace it more evenly – I blame COVID and the lack of parkruns since March for my inability to evenly pace a 5k – at the time of writing we were due to have our parkruns back this coming weekend but that has now been put on hold due to the recent cluster – fingers crossed it won’t be too long before I’m back running 5k’s every week!
Oh and this is completely unrelated but here is my new drum kit – I am sure we are going to be very happy together for a very long time! (And the cats are super excited about their new temporary playground!)