Hatfield 5 2021 – The one that was a bit ‘nippy’ …

28th November was the Hatfield 5 event, a staple in the DRR calendar and this years 5 mile club championship event. It’s always a chilly one being at the end of November but this year took that to another level! Matt Hake has kindly done a fantastic run report for us.

Possibly the coldest run I’ve ever done under the auspices of DRR….apparently 0oC (although according to my car it was -9oC, but then the temperature gauge has been somewhat broken since 1999!!!).

Genuinely, I have never seen so many people queuing to register / use portaloos / or huddle together for some semblance of warmth.

The race began in the narrowest start line known to mankind, but quickly opened up into a fast, flat 5 mile route. The pack thinned out relatively quickly. I’d not really paid much attention to the route or where we were going beforehand, I just knew I had to run sub 48 mins 46 secs to gain my Pearl Award. Steven had told me to run at my 5k pace PB and hang on for dear life for the last 2 miles!!! I did exactly that. Mile 1 was 8.10, Mile 2 8.20….I could see Cheryl about 30 yds ahead of me and knew she wanted sub 43 mins for her award, and was being ably paced by her husband Neil. I was well pleased with myself for having overtaken some of the runners who are normally in my training group on a Wednesday night….Clare, Clare and Sheila. Then Mile 3 hit and my Garmin was showing 9.10, I checked it again, 9.20….oh dear, the wheels were starting to come off, and people I’d passed at the start were starting to come back past me and I’d lost sight of Cheryl and Neil, I started to panic but gave myself a stiff talking to and told myself to relax. At the triathlon club I’ve been told to swim slower and be more efficient in order to be quicker in the water, I was hoping that advice applied to running also!! At the Mile 4 marker I was back to 8.55 pace and feeling much better within myself. I was even planning a ‘kick finish’, I remember Brendan Foster saying that’s what Seb Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram did in the 80’s (if you know, you know!). The finish line was suddenly too close and any idea of speeding up had gone, I was just pleased to see the line to be honest. The cold didn’t seem to matter anymore, the chattering teeth had been replaced by big smiles all round, my family were at the finish line to greet me. My grandson, who I really wanted to impress with ‘look what Grandad can do’ was more excited about the free sweetie I gave to him that all the runners were picking up at the finish line.

I love the camaraderie in running, and I’m pleased to say that I’m making friends with Bill and Rob from Dacorum and Martin from Stopsley….DRR is a really friendly club with lots of people that are happy to chat, offer advice and eat cake 😊….

But what of my time??? I ran 45 min 16 secs and I’m happy to report that I’ve achieved the Pearl Award. Six months ago I joined DRR without a hope of achieving any of the awards. But running consistently, pushing myself and enjoying the socialisation that comes with being part of a running club, I’ve knocked down hurdles I never thought I could. This season I’ve run (and marshalled) lots of parkruns, completed my first ever sub 1hr 10k at Bearbrook, completed two sprint triathlons and run the Virtual London Marathon. Now I’m looking at the award scheme and asking what I need to do next to get the next level up. I need to go 2 mins faster over 10k and 5 miles – who’s with me??? 

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