Wombwell 5 is a 5 mile road race run through Wombwell in Barnsley. It was my first race this year and my first 5 mile race. Having not run this before I had no idea what to expect, except people kept telling me about a very big hill.
I arrived early as I was unsure where the race would start from, where to park the car and how far I would have to walk from the car to race HQ. As it was I had plenty of time to spare. I met a lovely couple in the car park and we all walked across to HQ together. The race start is a short [around 5 minutes] walk but you do need to watch out for a man made track through some trees to cut through to the start line.
Race start is at the Go Karting track and it was here we were given bib numbers and chips. The instructions for the chips had left many people perplexed and it grow into a rather comical task to attempt to fasten the timing chip to your ankle. I was very apprehensive in the build up to the run, I cannot give a reason as to why I just remember feeling 'lost'.
The start of the race is one lap of the go karting track, before making your way out onto the roads of Wombwell. I deliberately stayed at the back of the pack. Knowing I am not one of the fastest and as I wasn't really feeling it, I felt comfortable here.
We headed out into the streets of Wombwell, and I was surprised by the lack of people on the streets. A couple of supporters here and there but nothing major. What surprised me even more was that the roads were in use, and at times we had to stop to let a car go by before continuing running again. The road has a gradual incline that is hardly felt before it ramps up into a hill for around 1/2 mile. After which point there are a couple of smaller inclines but the vast majority is downhill or flat.
The route itself is all road and takes in housing estates as well as some minor B roads. Given I now know the route I know that there is time to recover following the first hill, but the second housing estate also has an incline and to save some for this. Perhaps the stop start to allow cars to past also threw me a little and next time I will be more prepared. The route then comes back upon itself and down the initial hill before heading back into the karting track. A lap and a half of the track to finish.
In previous years it had been 2 laps of the track to finish, so I was unsure how many times around the track I had to run. Had I known I might have been able to pace better and run slightly faster.
Knowing the route and a feel for the rates of incline I think next year I will be much better prepared. Not one of my favourite routes or runs by quite some way, but still an enjoyable run all the same.
As I suspected I finished towards the back of the pack, but I still completed and next year I shall get faster. I wasn't really in the right frame of mind and perhaps this got the better of me.