Harvel 5 2015

The medal which doubles as a bottle opener
A late race report here on the fantastic Harvel 5 race, which took place on the 6th of June. I last ran this race way back in 2009, where I clocked a very respectable 36:56, but I was hoping for better this time around. There are
several things about this race which make it a fantastic Saturday afternoon out.

You might have noticed the first of these already, which is that the race takes place on a Saturday and in the afternoon, 2pm to be precise. It's actually quite hard to plan for a 2pm race as you're likely to have eaten breakfast a while ago and you don't want to eat too much for lunch, otherwise you might start suffering whilst on the course.

As it was I had a couple of bananas and a slice of toast and deemed that sufficient to get me round the course. The day itself was beautiful, with dare I say it almost perfect running conditions aka a light breeze and sunny, but not too hot. Because this is a local race several members of my running club Gravesend Road Runners (GRR) were also running it, so there was some car sharing and lifts to get to the start. I always enjoy sharing a car to a race because it usually means that there is plenty of banter before the race starts, which I think helps to settle any nerves.

Back to the race itself and the other elements of this race which make it great, in no particular order, these are:

  • The location - Harvel/Vigo/Trosley Park are very nice parts of the Kent Countryside
  • The course, which whilst it starts uphill is definitely PB potential
  • The country fair/festival feel of the event
  • The decorated porta-loos
  • The interesting urinals for the men
  • The great medal
  • The downhill finish (go hard or go home)
  • The free photos!
  • The Beer & Pimms tent at the finish

So on to the race, after the mass warm-up, which I didn't take part in, we all gathered at the start line, which had been broken up into potential finish times. I slotted myself into the 35 - 40 minute slot and awaited the starters gun (a shotgun literally). The start is a little bit up and down for at least the first mile, which can be a bit of a shock to the system, but I was running well and happy to see I was running  at 7:20 minute mile pace.

After the 1st mile/mile and a half the course heads into Trosley Park for a few miles, this is a nice part of the course as it's shady and there are some downhill parts, although some puddles and the rutted track meant it was important to keep your concentration. The only significant incline on the course is at the end of this section at about 4 miles. This is a 250 metre incline, where I struggled and was passed by a few people including one of my clubmates, but fair play to them, they owned that incline whilst I huffed and puffed up it. Then it's downhill all the way to the finish and I pushed as hard as I can to get to the finish line in 35:53 and a new 5 mile PB by more than a minute :-)

Overall very happy and I'll definitely be signing up for this event as soon as is opens next year!

Race Splits

Mile 1 7:19
Mile 2 7:22
Mile 3 7:19
Mile 4 7:27
Mile 5 6:37