Braishfield 5 mile beer race

Five mile races are, in my opinion, so much better than 10ks. You get to 2.5 miles and you’re half way! Yes this is an obvious statement, but mentally it’s so much easier to segment the race when everything is hurting.

I’m not keen on 5ks and I hate 10ks. I much prefer the longer distances – 10 miles and halfs are perfect. I get into my stride and enjoy the race because I’m not absolutely blasting the pace. Five miles are a kind of happy medium because I’m not clinging on to the speed (well, my version of speed anyway) for too long, which I think 10ks push me to. Though I suppose I should be running faster than I would in a 10k…

Before I get onto the Beer race, can we just talk about the random fluke thunderstorm on Saturday morning? What was up with that!? Ben and me headed down to Parkrun in rain and crashing thunder and lightening. Ten minutes before the start the heavens opened up in a big way and soaked us all.


We were helping pace a friend round as we were racing the next day.  There was a nice group of us running round together. We all got soaked and covered in mud.

7.06.14 2As Ben and I drove home, blissfully unaware of what was to come, I daydreamed about a lovely hot shower. We got home to find the water wasn’t working. Bare in mind that our legs are covered in mud, we’re absolutely soaked and freezing. What timing!? In the end we had to go round Ben’s mum’s house to borrow her shower – we were so grateful!

Moving on to Sunday, Ben, me, our running club friend, Matt, and our support crew (my parents & Ben’s mum) went to the Braishfield 5 mile beer race. So-called because you get a token for beer and a cake afterwards rather than a medal.

Braishfield beer race 2014 Ben and Matt wearing their ‘Smurf’ trainers (Adidas Boosts)

The weather was very warm, but I knew they’d be a bit of shade on the course so I wasn’t too worried.

I was quite pessimistic about this race. I knew I wasn’t anywhere near the shape I was in last year and I haven’t been consistently running since the hip saga. But hey ho, with the goal of CAKE in mind I warmed up and got myself ready on the start line.


Previously I’d achieved 34:20 and so I (doubtfully) set myself the challenge of sub-36 minutes. It’s a fairly hilly course but all on road.

As I got into the first mile I felt OK. I decided to ignore my watch and just run on feel. I was conscious to not blast it out and ruin myself for the rest of the race. I also knew there was a lovely hilly on the first mile.

First mile BraishfieldI remember last year how bothered I was about how many females were ahead of me at this point, but this year I just tried to ignore it and run my own race.

As I got into the second mile, I just felt so tired and fed up. I could feel myself struggling, my pace was rubbish and I was hot and bothered. Self-doubt and annoyance just clouded my brain: “You’re rubbish”, “Last year you were so much better – what have you done in a year?”. I considered just dropping out. Pretending I felt ill or weak. How terrible is that?Braishfield 2014 2

I passed the 4 mile marker at at 2.5 miles as the course loops back on itself (I hate this, so demoralising). To keep myself going I kept thinking “soon you’ll be back here, in under 15 minutes.” So I kept that 4 mile marker in my head as my next target to get to.

I managed to pick one girl off ahead of me which perked me up a bit, but I still saw three girls ahead of me. I was also certain there was another far ahead too. I finally got to that 4 mile marker and knew it was under 8 minutes until the end.

A man ran up next to me. He was faster than I was so I started to drop back from him, happy for him to overtake. At this point the race was over for me. At absolute best I could be fifth female so it was all about maintaining that position and just finishing now. He turned to me and said “come on, keep with me”. I replied, “no, no, you go on. I can’t”.

But he replied, “No come on, dig deep.” Believe me, I was digging deep to stay with him. Everything in my body was screaming at me now. But it felt rude to not stay with him. He was absolutely brilliant. He kept pushing me, even when I whined “honestly, go on.” He just kept me going. We picked off one of the girls ahead.

Then we turned the corner, and it was the final lap around the field (thank god I knew about it this time!)

Braishfield 5 miles 4He kept pushing me and encouraging me. And we finally caught the other girl!

Then the final sprint.

Braishfield 5 miles 5And finish! Out of 303 runners I came 52nd and 3rd female with a time of 35:50.

Honestly, without that guy’s help I would have come 5th female and probably just coasted to the end. I turned round and thanked him and gave him a hug. I was so chuffed! He really pushed me and got me that position.


Ben and Matt’s race had been good as well. They ran a fair way together.

IMG_1447 For Matt it was his first 5 mile and so a PB whatever. Despite feeling some nasty pains in his foot, he achieved a great time of 37:27.

IMG_1469 Ben’s target had been 37 minutes and he got 37:04! So he was very pleased too.

IMG_1504 And then the best part: cake of course!


The selection was amazing. This photo doesn’t even do it justice. There were so many options! I went for a slab of rocky road.IMG_6884I gave my beer to my dad (of which he was very pleased with) as there’s no way I could have drunk it after the race. I rarely drink beer at the best of times!

IMG_1513 And of course, the support crew who we were very grateful to cheer us on.IMG_6888I didn’t actually know I was third female at this point though. I wasn’t sure how many girls had finished in front of me so we decided to wait and see the prize giving, just in case. Plus the sun was shining and it was nice milling around talking to people (and also buying more cake…shhh!)

I’m not going to lie, I was (am) disappointed with my time, which is stupid because I knew I wouldn’t get close to last year’s time before the race began. Also I was in such better shape this time last year with all the 10ks I was doing. But I couldn’t help but just feel a bit rubbish about it. Seriously, a minute and a half worse? And I was putting everything into it.

Anyway we stood there waiting for the results, and I only had a glimmer of hope. So I was genuinely surprised and so very chuffed when they called my name for third!

IMG_6894 We got given a glass tankard with our position on the side.

IMG_6895 It was a good day out, don’t get me wrong, and I’m over the moon with getting third (and cake). But I can’t shake the disappointment. Because of my stupid niggles and hic ups I haven’t been able to improve on my times. It’s like, what have I been doing for a year?! Where’s my progress?

But I know I just need to focus on my next challenge and not get bogged down with the shorter distance races that I don’t enjoy as much.

Have you ever been disappointed with your performance?

How do you move past a disappointment?

12 Replies to “Braishfield 5 mile beer race”

  1. Congratulations!! Please don’t get too hung up about times – you’re doing so, so well considering all the injuries you’ve had. You showed such mental strength to stick with it and you were duly rewarded, well done! A beer and cake race sounds right up my street, so jealous 🙂
    Autumn recently posted…PBGP: Week 4My Profile

  2. Oh wow. It looks like it really tipped it down where you were! They told us we would get some storms but after a light sprinkle of rain in the morning it was lovely and sunny the rest of the day in Northants.
    Confession: So many times during the shorter distance races this year I’ve considered pulling out and saying I wasn’t feeling well or was injured. I haven’t done it yet and have always managed to talk myself out of it, but I know exactly how you’re feeling right now. I raced a 5 mile race last night without a watch and it’s been the first shorter distance race I’ve enjoyed in a really long while because I had no time pressure. Then I got my result through this morning. 1min faster than all other 5m races this season, but still 1min slower than my PB. Made me feel really rubbish to start with, before I talked myself round. The first year of running you are on such a high. It’s easy to take minutes off your PB times. In some cases LOTS of minutes! But then you plateaux and one or two seconds call for celebration. You’re never told how difficult it is to continue improving after all those initial highs and how to cope mentally when your times weren’t what you were capable of before.
    A HUGE well done for pushing through to take the third lady spot! Don’t spend too long beating yourself up. You said you were aiming for sub 36mins, and came away with 35m 50s…I’d call that a success! Hope you enjoyed that Rocky Road! 😀
    Mary recently posted…Send a cow Jane Austen!My Profile

    1. I think we’re very like-minded in our hatred of short distance races!
      It is tough isn’t it because you go from success to success when you first begin…then it’s just plateaus or getting worse!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…ComparisonsMy Profile

  3. I think you’ve kind of answered your own question, you know that long distances are best for you, but I think it’s when you set yourself those targets it’s hard not to feel disappointed when you don’t hit them – I always try and remember progress over perfection, and that it can be progress in another area (like your longer distances) that counts 🙂

  4. Well done, I know your disappointed but I still think that’s an awesome effort, and at least your fit and healthy right! I had a shocker at the Manchester marathon earlier in the year, it was awful and I hated it, what I hated the most was that I didn’t enjoy running it which sucked. I put it straight out of my mind and raced Milton Keynes a few weeks later to give myself a confidence boost and truly bury Manchester.
    Lauren (@PoweredbyPB) recently posted…Om Yoga Magazine JuneMy Profile

  5. Wow well done! We has that thunderstorm too , just as everyone was setting up the summer fete at work, although luckily it cleared in time for the actual fete.
    3rd female is amazing, and I think you just have to think about how far you have come since your injury and not worry about a year ago. I think I am normally still running when they give out the prizes!
    My most disappointed was when I was trying for the umpteenth time to get a sub hour 10k, and it was a baking hot day, but I pushed myself and came within about 30 seconds- I could not have run any faster but you know as soon as you stop you feel more energy and start wondering if you could have gone harder for a little bit.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Things I wonder when I watch GoggleboxMy Profile

    1. Yes! Isn’t it funny when when we finish a race we go “hmm I should have pushed a bit harder to get those seconds” when really during the race there’s no way you could have! It’s not like you take a small break half way and relax a bit. We’re too hard on ourselves I think (well I know I am for definite).
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…ComparisonsMy Profile

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