The Badgers Atherstone 10k was perhaps the hardest race I did in 2016. It’s the only race where  I walked a significant amount because of the hills. So I wasn’t sure at all about signing up again this year. But… The course is really a beautiful one, and going through the Merevale estate was fun. And the Badgers support and marshalling was superb.

In the end, the beautiful course and the great support won me over. Alex picked me up from home, and then we were away to pick TP up from work. Really dedication to run a race after a night shift!

We arrived bright and early, picked up our numbers and went for a wander and some tea. Back at the leisure centre we met up with Jay and Darren for selfies with the Badger.

Then, the start. This year I was aware that the course climbed quite early on, and was mentally ready. This time, I chose to concentrate on enjoying the atmosphere rather than whingeing about my legs. It worked.. Mostly.

Once I reached the Merevale estate, the course flattened off  quite a bit and I relaxed and really enjoyed the view. I knew the relief was temporary. It was coming.

This time I was determined to run as much as I could. A bit at a time. Good. Further than last year. Ok. Can manage a bit more. I’d love to say I didn’t walk at all. But I ran most of the hill. And then… What goes up, most go down. Wheee! Back through Merevale and back to Atherstone itself.

Just as I turned into the high street there was a little slope and my resolve faltered slightly. But. A woman grabbed my hand and said “come on, it’s almost the finish”. So I gathered my strength and ran with her. Everyone lining the high street seemed to know Jen, and be cheering her on! The enthusiasm was infectious. With 400m to go she said “when I say to go put everything you’ve got into it”… “GO”.  And so we did! My most fun sprint finish.

Afterwards, found the rest of the Swifts,  including David who was there with his dad.

Thanks Badgers for such a warm welcome. See you next year?


Christopher Bainbridge

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