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Sunday 22 April 2012

It’s Enough To Make You Dizzy

While the whole country’s eyes were on that marathon thing in London, we’re in Sheffield for the much more modest Lord Mayor’s 10k, which is part of the Sheffield Festival of Athletics. It’s presumably all with the Lord Mayor’s blessing, as he’s there.

The event starts and finishes at the impressive Don Valley Stadium, actually inside the stadium unlike Sixways last week. It’s a nice touch to run on the track inside the stadium but I quickly grow a bit sick of the sight of it, as we start in it, finish in it, return to do a lap of the track (twice) and run around the top of it (three times). It’s enough to make you dizzy.

In between the route takes us around the pathways that surround the stadium and a lot of cones. The three lap course is ideal for spectators who could put their feet up in the covered grandstand and heckle you in comfort, no less than seven times. I really should have brought my father. Being under cover was useful as the weather was mixed.

The Festival of Athletics was going on as we lapped the stadium for the umpteenth time and you could watch the pole-vaulters trying to harm themselves. The rest of the course had one sharp incline, done three times naturally but other than that it was exceedingly flat by Yorkshire standards but very twisty. That’s not my sort of course but that probably wasn’t the reason why I was so slow, over 46 minutes. That’s lack of training. I did a bit extra as well, as I went the wrong way and had to be shouted back.

I wasn’t convinced about the course measurement, something not helped by the lack of km markers. I only saw 1, 4, 6 and 8 and as I had three laps to look for the rest of them, I’m pretty sure they weren’t there. It also took an age, well five and half minutes, to reach the first one, which means to me that it was in the wrong place. The markers all had ‘Varsity 10k’ on them, a different race held a month ago and my initial assumption was that they were reusing these but now, post-event, I’m thinking perhaps they had just been left up by accident. Apparently that race started in a completely different place, so it was all very confusing.

At the end I’m handed a nice Festival t-shirt, aside from being green, handed out by the Lord Mayor himself. I didn’t think the race was that inspiring and L enjoyed it more than me but then she’ll do anything for a green t-shirt.

This now leaves L with just 2.3 miles to run to complete her 500 mile target. Which is an absolute doddle with two weeks left to go, except that I’m forcing her to board a plane to Finland in order to complete it. I’m cruel like that.

Having finished the race, L gives Daughter a wakeup call and we head over to visit the den of student depravity that they call home and to take her to lunch. We find a nice little pub, in the shadow of Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground, which serves a decent beer and Sunday lunch for a fiver. The ground is also Daughter's current place of employment, she worked there as a food runner at their match last week. Well, probably more of a food brisk walker, then again, she's a student, so delete the brisk.

Sheffield United are currently 2nd in the league, so on course to go up automatically. So we’re all hoping for a few defeats so that they end up 3rd, in the playoffs and having to play an extra game, all so that Daughter gets an extra shift.

Back home, after a bit of R&R we head down to the Ropewalk for a couple of strong dark ones - a Bramble Stout and a Porter.

(Sunday 22nd April)

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