Sunday July 31st and having taken the advice of the coaches at Harriers, i found myself down in North Wales,the country of PBs……well I have done three races in Wales prior to this one and all of them have ended in PBs…..so PB country it is!
Arriving with 30 minutes to go, I was in unusually good time. But having driven an 1 hour 30 to get here, i needed plenty of time to warm up and stretch out ahead of the race, so it was an early start for me and i arrived with enough time to do those things, collect my number, make two bathroom trips and jog the 800 metres or so to the start.
This race promises to be flat and fast….with the course route [race route] having a maximum elevation of just 35 metres. However, whilst the race is relatively flat although it does feature a one mile section of gradual incline which will be a tough section to maintain a fast pace over.
I set myself the task of running 6:05, which would see me sneak a sub 38 minute PB, however having not run a 10K for two years i was confident I would obtain some sort of PB but I wasn’t sure what it would be. My training isn’t currently at the level it was prior to Boston but my mileage and gym trips are slowly increasing.
Mile one; as usual I had set off far too fast and despite slowing down a little i completed the first mile in 5:53 pace. The slight downhill nature of this part of the course and the wide open road helping the faster runners get away and those like me who were running two fast.
Mile two; was much better 6:00 pace, almost on target, helped by finding runners who were running at the pace I wanted to hit and sitting just behind them.
Then over the following three miles I got increasingly slower, the first two miles (miles 3 and 4) i wasn’t too concerned about as I had time in the bank from miles 1 & 2, completing them in 6:13 and 6:18. Mile five, however, did go completely wrong, I don’t know if it was the effects of the gradual incline or the fact that I was unaccustomed to running the shorter distances but I fell back to what would be a half marathon pace for me. Completing this mile in 6:26 pace. I could still make my sub 38 target, but I would have to work hard for it!!
And work hard I did!! Picking up the pace over mile six I passed a runner of runners who earlier in the race had dropped me off as I tried to pace of them. I was on a section of the race, very familiar to me, a section from the Village Bakery Half Marathon. I knew what to expect, I knew how long there was to go and what it felt like to run this section hard on the back of 12 miles. A big advantage and I think I used it well, covering this mile in 6:09. Fast but not fast enough to get my target time.
Slightly disheartened, I congratulated runner who went past me over the last few hundred metres, but then as he got a metre or so ahead of me and I looked up and saw the finish. I thought you know what, I won’t get my target time, but I could get very close to it and so I picked up to a sprint, in fact, one of the best sprint finish I have ever had. Covering the final 0.2 of the race in 5:23 pace and the final 160 metres in 4:18 pace!! Not only did I easily pass that runner I had congratulated, but I also passed a female runner was heading towards the finish, way ahead of me. This slightly shocked me and I went to slow, but then I heard the commentator say “Come on, all the way to the finish” he could have been talking to either of us, but I switched back to sprint mode and beat her to the finish and that is what is happening in the picture attached to this post. A picture, which no less appeared in Athletics Weekly and as blurry as I might be in it, its a great honour and pretty cool to have featured in the magazine.
Finishing chip time : 38:17, a new PB by 58 seconds! a great days work!! a fast course and really well organised race. If you can make, i recommend doing this 10k next year.