Friday, 27 March 2009

Running with Wombles

Ok, so the title is a bit of a misnomer as it was a group of students, not Wombles, that I was running with. Not that I think my students are wombles, but we were doing a 10K in Wimbledon you see… (Ok you pedants, it wasn’t actually on Wimbledon Common, but hey, Orinoco makes me smile!)

So, Maths may be my subject, but the teachers at my sixth form college are asked to organise two 6-week ‘enrichment’ courses for the lower sixth each year. It was obvious I’d choose to get ‘em running. (Well, I thought it obvious, but initially I was asked if I’d like to look after the netballers – “NOOOOOOO!”)

We only get an hour or two on Wednesday afternoons to train, but the time is spread across more than six weeks, as half term holidays and other things crop up during the term. I figured the timing was about right to get the students up to a level where they could complete a 10K. We train in a local park, doing a mixture of drills, intervals and hillwork. We’ve been out in all types of weather, including rain (making for comedy slippyness) and we even did one session on the college field in inches of snow – a fantastic workout! We also discuss nutrition and I help them come up with a training plan, basically adding two further runs per week (one easy, one long). This year I’ve had the assistance of Meriem, our cutest French teacher, at the training sessions. She also ran in the race.

The first group of the year do the Brighton 10K in November; the second lot do the Wimbledon 10K in March. This year it was on Sunday March 22nd - a lovely sunny day. We met at Embankent tube station at 07:45, which fortunately didn’t seem too early as at least the mornings are still light before the clocks go forward. The students were great – they’d trained hard and also got sponsored (mostly for NSPCC) and all of them completed the event. Their times ranged from 48:31 to 1:21:23 and they were really chuffed with their rather nice medals. One student organised his own special vest from a Cancer charity and ran in memory of his friend’s mum: he raised £100. One of the students was tripped at 6K, but he hobbled his way to the finish – a long way to limp! There is one keen student who’s done all 4 of the 10Ks. Even the Vice Principal of college came along to take part (beating the rest of us with a time of 45:43).

I also met Peter Simpson again, the founder and club secretary of my running club: Vegan Runners UK. He’s pretty quick, finishing in an impressive 42:08. I was just taking it easy on the day, as I didn’t want to risk injury that would spoil my busy running schedule over the next few months. (My time – 54:24.)

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