After a year of getting mainly t-shirts  as race mementos (or at one race a squished double decker) it was nice to get a bit of serious bling last weekend.

T-shirts, particularly the ‘technical’ ones, are great but they are starting to take up precious kit drawer space. Talking to one of my running friends at the weekend, he revealed he has kept every race t-shirt he has ever received. He started running in 80s. That’s a lot of t-shirts.

So back to the bling. The race was the Calke Abbey 10k that started and finished in this National Trust site. It was listed as part of our club championship and was a race I’d never done before so thought I’d enter.

The morning of the race was cold and windy and the small race village was elevated and in a field. It felt freezing after the scorching summer and really mild temperatures that had dominated the month so far. I met up with an equally cold and grump friend and we moaned our way to the start line.

As soon as the race started, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. The route was fairly sheltered and so the wind became less of an issue and it was a lovely September morning. The race was ‘undulating’ (which you will remember means flippin’ hilly) with a huge climb at mile four that sucked the energy from your legs. But there were some great downhills and nice steady flats that went through the villages and lanes surrounding the Abbey site.

The last mile or so was within the grounds, along a tree-lined road and finishing in the field next to the race village. I managed a sprint finish and grabbed my well-earned goody bag and bling. And that bling was worth it – a winged scarab beetle with a (probably not) real ruby embedded into it.

I wore it all day.