Anyone ready for next years Standalone?

There we have it.  For another year the Standalone 10k is done and dusted.  It was another amazing family day out, as always it was a superb event and even the weather was brilliant!

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The Family Day

This is the most important aspect of the race for me.  My girls look forward to the day, so we started celebrations early.   On the way to Standalone Farm, we belted out a few classics in the car.  Mrs G and the kids joined in with my energising renditions of Gold by Spandau Ballet, Fire by Kasabian and the Rocky sound track classics Eye of the Tiger and Gonna Fly Now.

Every year, my family turns out and supports the race and the runners.

Step-father, mother-in-law, and Mum

Step-father, mother-in-law, and Mum

By the time we arrived, my cousin Linda was at the farm with her kids, and pretty soon we were joined by my Mum, step-father, sister, mother and father in-law, brother-in-laws (x2), an abundance of nieces & nephews and a handful of great friends.  After the race we were joined by my Nan and enjoyed a meal for 20 in a local pub.

This years race was even more special to my family than normal because my sisters husband Matt completed his first road race.  It’s an emotional day for me and my family anyway and when Matt came around the corner on to the finishing straight, half of us were in tears because we were so proud of him.

The main race is followed by a 2km fun run for all the kids.  Most of ours ran in the 6-10 age group and I shepherded my eldest, my Godson and my nephew around.  It was hilarious! We started with the plan of running together until the sprint finish but things got tricky when my nephews shoe came off (twice).  Then they were running in zig-zags all over the path.  Then we got split up when my Godson made his run for home about half way around.  We all made it in the end, and even managed to finish in front of the lady running it in Ugg boots and jeans whilst carrying her handbag and a Bob the Builder rucksack!  I probably had it easy though; Mrs G ran with my God-Daughter and my youngest who insisted on sitting on her shoulders the whole way round (until collecting her medal at the end)

The Event

I can’t believe that, from it’s humble beginnings as the Novatek 10k in the 80’s, the race my Dad built now has a capacity of 1400 runners.  It felt bigger this year but maybe that was because I started with Matt, and my friends Jim & Leanne at the 55 minutes (target finish time) section.  That was a good move because it kept my pace steady at the start whilst picking my way through runners.  Of course there was one person walking in the first 600 yards, but that is the only tiny niggle I could come up with for the whole event.  The course remains undulating but reasonably fast and the field is made up of a good range of experienced club athletes and people like us – which means that everyone feels at home!

The sun came out around the 6k mark and for a moment I was worried that my decision to not take a drink was going to backfire when I could feel the temperature beginning to rise.  But the small pockets of shade helped me through the final 3k and I maintained my pace to finish under my target time of 45 minutes … so I was happy.

Here comes Matt

Here comes Matt

After collecting my fetching blue t-shirt I quickly made it back to cheer on our other runners.  I missed Jim who was just after me at 48 minutes, managed to catch Leanne’s sprint for the finish and was delighted to be able to celebrate Matt’s arrival well inside his target time of an hour.

Once again, the North Herts Road Runners have delivered an outstanding day.  Everyone who came with us had a great day out and I can guarantee that we’ll all be back next year to keep supporting the event that has become so important to me.

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Getting fit for the Standalone 10k

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Dad and Me doing stuff at an early Standalone 10K race

Each year I run the Standalone 10k race that my Dad used to organise.  I started running it when my sister had the idea that I run the 20th anniversary race (cheers Sis).  In hindsight taking part in that event, and being honoured by the North Herts Road Runners with handing out the winners prizes, has spurred me on to all of the sporting challenges I have completed since.

I think that first race took me about 53 minutes. The following year I entered my first three half marathons, eventually smashing the 2 hour barrier in the inaugural Birmingham Half. A few months later I was full of emotion whilst standing on the start line of the London Marathon and facing the biggest physical challenge of my life. So I owe a lot to my sisters idea and to the Standalone 10k.

This years race takes place on 6 October and is probably full with 1200 entries by now. My brother-in-law has been training hard to compete in his first ever road race after a knee injury prevented him from taking part last year.  My best friend from my school years is “competing to complete” after his training plan stalled in July but it’ll be great to see him there. It was a special occasion when my wifes brother ran with me, and every year my good friends Jim & Leanne have been there with us, running when they’ve been able to and this year will be no different.

My initial reason for writing this blog is because each of us has been on a different training journey to get fit for it.  So I thought a bit of a best practice review would be interesting because I’m not sure if my cycling led approach is worth recommending or if Matts stamina training might be a better idea.  However, after a very quick Google search, it appears that we are all doing just fine according to one plan or another.   For those of us who need to get fit quick, there are even 2 week training plans around …. I like that idea.  My only bit of advice (to myself a much as anyone else) is to take it steady and run at a sensible pace for the first 5k.  You can speed up if you feel good but, if your lungs and legs are dead after 7k, it’s a seriously unpleasant last 2 miles!

It is only 10k.  Which is 6.2 miles.  If the worst come to the worst you can walk that in less than an hour and a half.

It doesn’t matter that none of us have followed proper training plans.  It means the world to me that my friends and family take part with me and that we continue to celebrate the race that my Dad built. Thankyou.