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Woodbridge 10k

posted 18 May 2015, 05:47 by Jon Beverley
Report by Andy Hawes.

The Woodbridge 10km race is a very popular 2 lap race around the town of Woodbridge in Suffolk and is part of the 2015 Suffolk County Athletics Association Grand Prix Series. The first challenge is often securing a place - entries to the race opened at 8am on Sunday 15th March and the 700 places were filled within three and half hours!!
I have run the race a number of times as Woodbridge is my hometown and a good excuse to catch-up with (and try to beat!) some old school friends. My PB for the race is 43:07 which I set back in 2009 a month after I ran the London Marathon and haven't come close since! 
The race starts at midday which in previous years has meant that it has been an uncomfortably warm +25 degrees. My 2014 time, which was a hot year, was 44:48 (105th) and was my target to beat this year. 
The forecast for Sunday was a pleasant 14 degrees but on the day the clouds cleared and the sun came out, making it a great day for spectators but a little too warm for the runners.
After a quick warm up in the fabulous grounds of Woodbridge School (Race HQ) where the school band were playing and adding atmosphere, all the runners converged onto the road for the start of the race.  Unlike previous years when I have shot off (too fast), the sheer volume of runners made it a slightly slower first ½ mile down to the Market Hill where hundreds of supporter are waiting to cheer you on. Exiting the Market Hill and running past the King’s Head I was hugely envious of the supporters looking very content in the sunshine, pint of ale in hand. 
Towards the end of the first mile is a climb up Drybridge Hill, one of 2 hills on the course that are run up twice.  The first time up is not usually a problem and there is a mile or so on the flat to get your breath & speed back. It's then a gradual downhill for a mile back towards the centre of town. The first half of the race is usually fairly fast and my 5km split was 21.24. 
The pain often starts soon after the 5km mark when there is the climb up back towards Market Hill for the 2nd lap, continuing past the Kings Head again and up Drybridge Hill for the final time. My legs were definitely feeling it at the end of mile 4 but managed to recover for the run back down into the town. The last km is through the Thoroughfare, the main shopping street, and I knew there wasn't far to go.  A sharp right at the end of the Thoroughfare and then an uphill sprint to the finish on Market Hill. I was pleased I managed to knock 42 seconds off my 2014 time with a chip time of 44:04 and finishing 112th. The winner crossed the line 34:12! 
Time for a quick drink of water and chat with some of the other competitors before a well-earned beer.
The Woodbridge 10km race is very well organised and supported race and I would recommend it to anyone, especially to those who haven't visited to Woodbridge before. There’s lots to do in the area and plenty of pubs to sample – just remember to set your alarm on the day the online entry for the race opens otherwise you are likely to be disappointed!