Cabbage Patch 10Simon Freeman is pleased to win a race within a race as he takes part in the iconic Cabbage Patch 10 Miler
Monday 29 October 2012Name: Simon Freeman Occupation: Founder of Freestak
Event: Cabbage Patch 10
The Cabbage Patch is a bit of an institution, having been run over the same course since it was founded in 1982 by Frank Dupree, the landlord of the Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham, and Malcolm Ellis. The race starts and ends in Twickenham, passing through Kingston and Richmond after 10 miles of what must be one of the flattest courses imaginable. Since it’s inception, the race has attracted some very high profile runners including Olympians Scott Overall, Mara Yamauchi and Mo Farah from the London Games and further back in time, Richard Nerurkar, whose stunning course record of 46 minutes 2 seconds is an all-time British record. But it is certainly not a race reserved for the super-fast and attracts runners of all types and speeds. On the day, the conditions were perfect – cool, calm and dry, although some of the runners were concerned that the stretch on the river towpath might be flooded due to the rain the previous night. Nevertheless, this was going to be a great day to race. As the runners were walked from the holding area to the side of the high street, to the start line, there was a palpable sense of excitement and perhaps some trepidation. 10 miles is an interesting distance – long enough that it can’t be attacked recklessly but not long enough that it can be approached in the same was as the more familiar half marathon distance. But there was no time to wonder about these things – as soon as we arrived at the start line the gun went and the runners surged forwards. The runners soon spread out, although I was sure that some of those in front of me might have started a little enthusiastically. We would see I guess! The course is very much on roads and can be a bit twisty as it works its way through the residential areas bordering the river in Twickenham. The roads were pretty much empty though and there was literally dozens of marshals clad in high-viz vests to ensure there was no chance of getting lost. The flat course does lend itself to running quickly, but there was a bit of a breeze this year and I worked hard to make sure that as the race shook out, I was with a small group of three other runners as we approached the four mile mark. At that point it seemed as though many of the more enthusiastic and less realistic runners realised that they would have to adjust their pace and my new found friends and I passed a number of runners including the second place woman. The main part of the race, from mile four to eight passed unremarkably and I managed to maintain my pace by working with the one member of the little group that had formed, who stuck with me. There were some muddy sections of the towpath and a few puddle to negotiate, but all in all the course was fine and the weather stayed perfect. After eight miles I found myself on my own and resolved to just push on as best I could. I wasn’t really catching anyone by that stage but neither was anyone catching me (which was good as my running club uses the Cabbage Patch 10 as it’s club championship race and I was in first place in the race-within-a-race!) The final few twist and turns came and went in a blur and suddenly I was turning into the gates of York House where the finish line is located. I was the first in my club and 30th overall in a time of 57mins 45secs (almost exactly 10 minutes behind the winning man!) and was very happy as I collected my iconic Cabbage Patch t-shirt and headed off to the pub for a well-earned pint! I think that Cabbage Patch is a great race. It is undoubtedly a busy race and the course is narrow in places, but it is wonderful to know that you are running on such a famous course and in the footsteps of legends of our sport. It is also a great distance to test yourself on and there is always the chance of winning a cabbage for your efforts (and ‘no’ I’m not joking!)
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