Last month, Matthew Walley of Newport & District Running Club took part in one of the tougher 10k races available: the Church Stretton 10k. Here, he describes the day in his own words:

On 24th October I ran Church Stretton 10k. After three sub 40min 10k times this year, with the quickest being Wem in just under 38min, I was looking forward to a different type of race. I’d booked this knowing it was going to be mostly on road and hoping it was going to go up the Bur Way. This is something I’ve always wanted to cycle up but never got round to so running up it was going to be “fun” and be interesting pacing as the first 2 miles have a elevation gain of 1,135ft and averaging 8.6% with a maximum of over 20%.

I mistakenly ended up starting in the middle of the pack and was boxed in at the start, so lost sight of the leaders pretty quickly, but this was most likely a blessing in disguise as it has been known when the red mist of a race situation starts my pacing goes out the window. When I got into my rhythm I started to pick off runners that had gone out hard & worked with a guy I’d run with at Shrewsbury parkrun. 

Once we’d got to the top there was a small loop of trail then it was straight back down. Knowing my descending is probably stronger than ascending I wanted to have some in the tank for the last 2miles down. So I let gravity do its job and pull me down into Stretton at a rate of 4:34min/mile (won’t be beating that anytime soon!). I crossed the finish line in a time of 45:32 & 25th position. This was a really fun race and something completely different to the norm. Plus I’ve had one of my favourite running photos (do love an air shot and this is a good one) which is always a nice bonus!