Race Report
Sevenoaks Rotary 10k 2018
Lisa Gray
I signed up for this after hearing about it from a friend last Spring.

This 10k is part trail round Knole Park, a lovely National Trust property.

I began training for it in earnest after one of our club members warned me it was hilly. I wanted to be strong enough to enjoy running through the deer park.

My aims for this run were to get the gorgeous medal and not come in last. I also hoped to see Dame Kelly Holmes as we were all told she’d be running too.

My girlfriend/crew/coach Jess and I arrived early to register at the Sevenoaks Leisure Centre then walked the 15mins to the start so I could warm up. The weather was drizzly and the ground was getting sticky with mud.

Once at the start the fun run took place. I did see a fit looking woman tail running so that might have been Dame Kelly.

After I warmed up with a yomp up a nearby steep hill we learnt that that our start was delayed by 15 minutes due to the number of later registrants.

As we waited I was delighted to meet up with my friends, two of whom had run a trail marathon the day before so this was a scenic cool down run for them.

Soon Lord Sackville I believe yelled ‘Go’ and we were off on the first loop. The ground was getting sticky but was runnable.

Little Muntjack deer sat, like curious Perch on a lake dive, watching us run past. That was a Knole view I wanted to see.

The course revealed what I thought was the hill I’d been warned about and I though ‘that’s just a short sprint, that’s nothing’ but by the time I got there I felt the need to speed walk it. I’ll explain why later.

The course then turned a corner and after more mud and puddles we were on tarmac and downhill beside the garden walls of Knole House for the rest of the loop.

As I slowed for a muddy, steep turn a guy ran next to me for some Faversham and race small talk then I saw Jess waving in the crowd.

Soon we were on the second loop, the trail was a bit muddier. A lady ran past me thanking me for being her pacer. I hope that means that my pace was steady.

I plodded along the final loop and enjoyed stretching my legs for the long downhill.

I came in at 1 hour 6 minutes and 2 seconds, 6 minutes off my 2016 10k personal best at the Faversham 10K so no big achievement for me other than finishing. I wasn’t last and I got my lovely medal. I was 18th woman out of the 37 who ran in my 45 to 55 age group.

I have a dream of being first in my age group one day but the first woman in this race came as First Woman in about 41 minutes! I doff my cap.

So, would I do it again? Yes, the deer were lovely, the shower in the sports centre and National Trust cafe lunch after were welcome. My hydration was perfect with no urgent needs to panic about no cover en route.

I’m weight training at a gym now so that’ll help me get up hills and be more sprinty.

Also, most importantly, when I looked at the elevation on Strava it looked like l’d done Boughton Hill twice! That hill began at the start, very gradually ascending for the first 2 or 3 km so no wonder I walked the short steep bit near the highest point.

I was the only one there in club colours. I thanked all the marshals as I ran past and enjoyed hearing ‘Go on Faversham...looking good’