The Battle of Sedgemoor 10k is run around the somerset lowlands of Langport, Drayton and Muchelney. Organised by Langport Runners, it sported a field of about 300 runners from far and wide as it formed both part of the Somerset Series, and was an ARC Championship race.
It was actually on Sunday 24th August, but I’ve only just had time to write this up!
Access was excellent, with the main routes into Langport well accessible. Parking wasn’t advertised, but was plentiful and suited the size of the field.
Race Village (4/5)
Registration was a bit strange. Whilst Simon and myslef had pre-registered, Jodie hadn’t. So we had to go into the Langport Arms for her to register. However, this was about 300 yards away from our race packet pickup which was near the finish line! Bit strange and confusing but we left plenty of time.
There were loads of helpful marshals, and everything was very well signposted. There was water available before the race. Unfortunately no bag storage, but we left ours in quite a public place near the finish funnel and there were no issues.
The Start (3/5)
Before the race there was a well attended race briefing, though unfortunately the Race Director had lost the crowd halfway through as the dull noise of people talking grew louder and louder. He was excellent at explaining the start arrangements though – we couldn’t line up until immediately before the race as the roads were no closed. So ahead of the start, everyone lined the pavements until we had the all clear.
No start pens or zones, which was fine for the size of the field, and we were away very promptly. Despite there being no start pens, the footfall filtered down quickly and allowed everyone to run their own paces quickly.
The Route (4/5)
Despite it being in the Somerset Levels, there was quite the incline as indicated by the elevation chart below! (It’s not actually that much of a spike considering the scale – its no mountain!) It was all on open public roads which is why it loses a mark, as well as it not being the most inspiring course. it is however, fast and once you get over the initial climb its a net downhill all the way home, including the last Kilometer, which made for a great finish.
Crowd support was sparse out in the villages, but back in the town center and importantly for the finish, the support was magnificent, and they cheered everyone all the way to the line.
The route was truly excellently marshalled, with great encouragement from all of them, 2 aid stations (Though I still haven’t mastered the art of grabbing and drinking from plastic cups at race pace…) and brilliantly signed – you couldn’t have gone wrong if you tried. KM markers were spot on (As in a few meters from my KM autolap on my Garmin…).
It was a small event at a low price so this is a relative score. No goody bag or tee shirt were advertised but nor was the medal – which was excellent! One of my favourites! So the score is for the medal, relative to the cost and expectations from the race. There was water available afterwards, but something like a banana may have been nice.
Results powered by Full On Sport which is a pretty decent results system. My only niggles are that firstly, it was Gun to Chip timed – might have taken another 4 seconds of that PB! Secondly, that the results kept moving for the following hour or so afterwards. Now this isn’t really a problem, but when comparing it with the excellent services from DBMax for Frome, its not fair to not knock a mark off for this. But again, its good value.
I came into this race off the back of some strong training for the upcoming Bristol Half Marathon. Frome was a few weeks ago on a tough course and I was confident I could finally break down the sub 45 barrier which had seemingly stood in my way forever (Although in reality, it was more like 4 months…). I set my Garmin to keep me above the required 4:30min/km pace to hit that target. I was aware there was a climb a the start, and I knew the last KM was downhill. My strategy was to stay on pace for the climb, hang on for the middle portion (Which was still a net downhill) and then push on the last KM with the hill advantage.
Gathering on the start line, I knew it was Gun to Chip, and started as close to the front as I felt comfortable. I was there with Simon and Jodie, though I knew Simon was going to be faster than me and Jodie slower, so after the first 100 yards it would be a solo effort. The gun went and away we went. Somehow I immediately found a golden cadence of 180+ and felt comfortable. Going up the climb was definitely a struggle, but I kept slowly gaining on people and overtaking people one at a time. I kept Simon in sight for the first 6km, he was always about 200 yards ahead of me. As tempting as it was to try and catch him, I had a target and a plan, and wanted to stick to the strategy. The last thing I wanted was to miss my target by going too fast and blowing up.
After the first couple of kilometers and after the climb I found a good rhythm and a solid pace which I kept to. I found myself overtaking more than getting overtaken. Towards 7/8k it became more of a struggle to maintain pace, and KM8 was a wake up call. The watch flashed that Iw as off target for that KM so I knew I needed to pick it up.
Coming back into Langport there were more people which spurred me on and it came to the downhill section I was looking forward to. Looking at my watch I was on for a sub 44! Dreamland! I pushed on and came around the last corner hearing everyones favourite local marshal Nikkii Small should friendly abuse at me to try and speed me up! And it worked, rounding the bend I could see the finish line and see the clock. A bit of extra efort in and I crossed the line in a new PB of 43:36!
Simon had finished a bit ahead and saw me cross the line. he smashed a massive PB too. I grabbed some water and chatted with Simon and a few other runners after the finish before turning my attentions to Jodie.
I’d been trying to convince her that she’d be able to go around in under an hour. She wasn’t convinced but I’d given her the pace to target on her watch. As the race clocked ticked to 56 or 57 I started walking back on the course to try and catch her. I spotted her walking a bit so shouted to cheer her on. She started running again. I ran to meet her and ran along with her. Usually she’d shout abuse at me but not this time which was pleasing! I had no idea what time she had on her watch or if she was on or off target, so i just kept on encouraging. I ran with her around the last bend and saw the finish funnel. All I could see on the race clock was the second hand ticking up.
56, 57, 58, 59, 00. She’d miss her target by a few seconds, but still a magnificent run. I kept on running with her and cheered her through until more of the clock was revealed… It had only just ticked over the 59 minute mark! She made her goal!
Once Jodie had recovered and we’d all had some water, we went to the bar with some friends and had a well earned pint. Along with Steve our Langport Runner comrade, we’d all PBed.
A brilliant race, one I thoroughly enjoyed and will most certainly return to next year.