Random thoughts on... Caerphilly
This weekend saw the inaugural Caerphilly 10K. This was quite a personal event for me as I grew up in Caerphilly, so forgive my bias on this Report. In those days, I had the athletic interest of a Shetland Pony, and wouldn’t have dreamed of doing anything like running, this was a chance to go back and show Caerphilly what I am capable of.
This race had potential to be a killer of the same ilk as the Scenic 7. Caerphilly lives geographically in a basin (or the centre of a toilet pan as I remember it being described). I was slightly concerned that the race might take in Pyll-y-Pant hill, or possibly the “mountain” itself (especially if you take it the wrong-way, up past the station).
The route was clearly devised by a runner, and a deceptively harsh one at that. Starting around the back of the Castle, a quick trip up to the top of town was followed by a slight, then a heavy descent. Nice flat course then out past ASDA, and on to the Cedar Tree roundabout.
I detected a little drop here, heading towards the Bedwas roundabout where I was met with some welcome sights. Nick Davies was on the camera, and just next to him, sat on a bike was Joanna. Now, I held Jo in adoration all of the way through my Comprehensive days, and had she shouted “go on Nigel” before I saw the camera, the photo would have been just so different! That shout and smile got me through the long, slow drag up past Mornington Meadows and Lansbury Park.
I already knew about this stage, having done a trial run a few weeks ago, but knowing about it didn’t really help. Change of music kicked in at exactly the right point – earlier light bursts of LMFAO, Moves Like Jagger and Jessie J were replaced with heavy Trance music that we use in Spin class for hill climbs. The ascent went on and on and on (much like me really), but at least I knew when it was about to stop. The out and back into the Industrial Estate was a welcome sight – I love these, you get a good chance to see where you are in the pack, and to say hello to all and sundry (especially if they’re in the maroon and white). Saw a few mates from work, interesting to see how they had spread out – Adam had taken a lead over Phil. Kept waiting for James, thinking he’d be with them – he beat Phil last year on the Cardiff 5 Miler (though Phil had “fallen over” – nice one James J ). Finally, I saw James – he looked tired by then, and I realised just how shattered I was – Lansbury Park had robbed me of my energy!
The “out and in” went on longer than my practice run did, but dropped a touch just before the slight ascent up Van Road. Did anyone else see the big dog lounging on his front wall? Or while I’m at it, the topless old bloke sat in his front garden just past the Picadilly? On the subject of the Picadilly, were the drinks really free from 11:00 – 12:00?
Anyway, another quality Lliswelly photographer, Deb Wood, appeared just afterwards, giving me just enough inspiration to start moving again to cross the Twyn. Just as well – there was the welcome sight of my family – all of them, including mum and dad! I must have looked a state – “you looked tired” dad reported later, his only experience of, and comment on my running.
Supporters are always welcomed, especially the NEWT on a bike who appears at most races these days. Apologies for forgetting your name (I am rubbish with names), but I just hope that it is who I think it is, not just some “Life of Pi”-type hallucination.
Gritted my teeth a made it past the side of the castle. Looked at my watch – missed my target time, and still a mini-hill to go. Decided I’d take it easy on the way up – until I faced a torrent of abuse – my sister and her chap were stood there, ready to continue shouting if I showed signs of weakness. Just what I needed! Up I went to the top of town, across, then back down, adopting my “NEWT-trained” downhill style. Relax shoulders, lean forward, arms out and down and run like a child – wheeeeeeeeeee!
Think I worried the girls that had been running by me at that point – they held back a bit as I flew my aeroplane. Then my sister popped out of the other side of the street and wondered what on earth I was doing. No time to explain, “Eye of the Tiger” had kicked in by then on the headphones, I could see the finish line and nothing was going to get in my way – sprinted my way down and through the finish – whoo hoo!
Very well organised race, fantastic goodie bag stuffed with useful things and the rain held off.
Lovely surprise to get some birthday cake just before the obligatory Lliswerry Runners photo-shoot – Happy Birthday Antoinette! Only team photo I haven’t seen yet is the one where I got to lie down in front of everyone – maybe as well!
Talking of photos – anyone found us on this link?
There’s at least one maroon and white on the official video:
Caerphilly – you did yourself proud! Back next year?... you bet!