Run for RichardWith the re-interment of King Richard 111, whose remains were found under Leicester Social Services car park in 2012, due to take place in Leicester Cathedral next week, the whole of the Midlands has been gearing up for this once in a lifetime event. Very interesting, I hear you say, but what’s that got to do with running and stuff?

Because I was perusing my emails a few weeks ago when I saw a link to a 10k Race on Sunday 15th March, called ’Run for Richard’, which would pass by Bosworth Visitor’s Centre and through the historic Leicestershire village of Market Bosworth. Proceeds would benefit both the Cathedral appeal and the charity Combat Stress. Keen to be a part of something that will only happen once, I signed up and then regretted it as I have not done a 10k with the intention of running it all for ages.

On looking at the web site the night before the race I noticed that only around 70 people were taking part, most of whom were club runners. Convinced I’d be last, I was very tempted not to turn up, but then I gave myself a stern talking to- I can’t keep entering events, failing to train sufficiently and then backing out of them!

So I drove through the dull chilly morning, parked up at the start venue and registered. I asked whether there was a time limit and they assured me that there was not. One chap really looked the part- he was dressed in a medieval hat, adorned with Richard 111s boar badge and carried a royal standard. I wished I had thought to bring a plastic sword or something.

We set off and, as I expected, most runners shot off and left me behind, although I did overtake three people. Now, the web site had described the race as ’undulating’, which we all know means ’bloody hilly!’ There were gradual, strength- sapping ascents, welcome descents and one really really steep climb past the gates of the Bosworth Visitor’s  Centre, where I could just make out the flags fluttering on Albion Hill, long thought to be the site of Richard’s death. They now think that this actually happened about a mile away so the Visitor’s Centre is in the wrong place!

I had to admit defeat and walk for a couple of minutes as the hill became steeper and steeper. I must admit all of the marshals were really friendly and encouraging and because I knew that there were people behind me it took the pressure off knowing they weren’t just waiting for me!

I did start to get concerned at how long it seemed to take me to reach each distance marker until near the end when I realised that they were in miles- not kilometres as I had assumed!

The sun came out as I enjoyed a lovely descent and then agonisingly long ascent with a sting in its tale into Market Bosworth where a kind lady assured me it was all downhill to the end ‘with a wee rise’. I tried to put a bit of a spurt on when I saw the finish line and was told my time was 72 minutes something- 1 hour 12 minutes- which I am quite happy with given the current lack of fitness and a course which everyone agreed was tough. A nice commemorative medal was placed round my neck and a bottle of water and a banana were thrust into my sweaty hands.

Plus there were apparently four people behind me- so not coming last was a nice little bonus!

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