Town & Gown 10k

A few weeks ago—in a moment of madness—I signed myself up for the Town & Gown 10k run here in Oxford.

I am not a runner. For the record, my normal definition of a jog/run is ‘ambling along taking pictures of interesting things’.

I also know that I will never run a marathon or even a half marathon, for the following reason: the numbers are wrong! Instead of running 40km for a marathon, and 20km for a half marathon, you have to run (approximately) 42km and 21km, respectively. Now, before you sharpen your pitchforks, I know there are historical reasons for it. They probably even make sense in some weird historical way. All I’m saying is, the numbers are inelegant, mmmkayyy?

Anyway, back to the run itself which took place last Sunday, the 27th of June 2021.

Due to restrictions imposed by the virus-that-shall-not-be-named, the runners were split into different groups, or waves, based on starting times. I was assigned to wave 1a by virtue of my excellent performance in previous runs expected finishing time of 2 hours.

At 8.30am on Sunday, I therefore made my way to the warmup area, past a speed limit sign that read 5mph. Well, no danger of me exceeding that, I thought!

The warmup itself was brief but fun. Apart from the usual stretching routine, the event host (who apparently is a Bollywood dance instructor) also led us on a Bhangra-inspired warmup routine:

After that, it was a short walk to the starting line. The runners were released in pulses of 10 people to avoid overcrowding. And so began my first 10k run…

The run itself was nice, taking us along closed roads past many beautiful buildings in Oxford. I ran the first 5km diligently, but then did my usual stuff of stopping to take pictures along the way. What can I say, old habits die hard.

Prior to this event, the longest run I’ve ever participated in was a 5km one, but I’ve done 7km runs before in my own capacity. So when I saw the sign below, the following words from Samwise Gamgee somehow crossed my mind:

If I take another step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.

Samwise “Sam” Gamgee

Ignoring my tingling Hobbit senses, I shouldered on and eventually finished the run in 71 minutes, enough to earn me 1,876th place out of 2,045 people who actually finished the race.

(bows down for applause)

Below is a picture of me at the run:

Wait, sorry, that was from the week before. Dang it!

Here’s the correct picture:


Naturally, one might ask if I plan to take part in further runs. The answer is: probably not. Like I said, I’m not a runner, and my feet actually hurt like hell after the run. Having run through the Oxford city centre, I think it helps to have a really nice setting around you to take your mind off the actual pain of running. But it can’t beat the simple pleasure of jogging/walking in the park next to my house, taking pictures of wonderful things that catch my eye (like the snail above).

Thus endeth my first, and likely my last, 10km run.

Thank you for reading.