So, Cotgrave Country Park and the Paws 10k.
So called as it’s in aid of the local RSPCA animal shelter at Radcliffe and Nottingham based Positive Futures.
There’s no sign of Harry the Hare, the star of the 2k Fun Run, but there is someone dressed up as a dog. They’ll be hot if they run in that, although they don’t appear to be planning to do more than a ‘little bit’. There are plenty of dogs around in fact and of course the people from the Animal Shelter. We don't ask if they'd take MD.
Up until 2009, when the Paws 10k started, Cotgrave Country Park was the only park in Nottingham not to have a running event. Perhaps there was a reason for this. Before we start plenty of people are discussing ‘the hill’.... I'm sure L hasn't mentioned this... Hmmm. When I walked round most of it last year, it looked pretty flat to me. Obviously well hidden.
We start, in glorious sunshine, and I perhaps get a tad carried away and go under four minutes for the first km. It’s all downhill from there, metaphorically speaking, well until we get to the hill of course. In reality the terrain is largely flat, as predicted, all on well compacted grit paths. You could even say it was a scenic route, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I end up running just behind an old adversary of mine, the girl with the impossible ponytail. Not that she was ever much of an adversary, as I’ve never beaten her. Unfortunately her running partner and herself are appalled by their 7:20 second km and up their pace. Meaning they go sailing off into the distance.
My legs tell me this isn’t going to be quick one, so I settle in for a bit of a jog and to wait for that hill, which duly arrives at about 5.5km. It was, to be honest, a bit of a killer but very short. It was enough to enable me to finally get shut of an 'older' gentleman who I’d been swapping places with for the first half of the race. After the hill, I look over my shoulder and he’s miles back. Ha. Sorted. Then suddenly at 7k, he comes back past me, towing a female runner along with him. I’m not having that. I wait until around 8.5k, then I put a spurt on that seems to distance them both for good this time.
Over 43 minutes for the run. Not great but not bad. Acceptable for a park run. I pick up a t-shirt and ppppp-pick up a penguin biscuit, which they are giving out at the finish. Not many though, can’t see them lasting until the later runners come in.
It doesn’t stop there with the freebies, there’s a choice of free home baked cakes as well.
After which I rest my legs and perhaps catch a few Z’s as Derby play Coventry. It does not start promisingly. The Sky Blues dominate the first half and lead 2-0 as half-time approaches. Then suddenly, out of nothing, Derby get a goal back. Then with 45 minutes on the clock Mr Popular, Marlon King, gifts us a penalty. 2-2 and that’s how is stays until the end.
With not much action in the second half, the crowd amuses itself by baiting Mr King. With fourteen criminal convictions to his name and two jail terms he’s an easy target. The most recent stint inside was for groping a girl’s bottom and when that didn’t pull her, punching her in the face. Nice. Still, the crowd calling him a rapist is a little wide of the mark.
After the match I meet L for what is an excellent night out in Derby. We had planned to meet in the Brunswick but it’s so packed with the post-match crowd that we slip into the Alexandra instead. Good call. Castle Rock Merlin and Fullers ESB. Tasty. Until the ESB runs out by which time the Brunswick has emptied a bit. Everards Old Original continues a pleasant evening.
We end up in the Shalimar for a curry, which is excellent. A superb Jalfrezi and the Shalimar do the best cheese naans anywhere.
(Saturday 9th April)