Today I toom on the challenge of the Mersey Tunnel 10K. Usually the tunnel is the preserve of slightly faster objects, however today roughly 2,500 runners (including me) pounded the road under the river Mersey linking Liverpool with the Wirral. The race started on the Liverpool side just round the corner from the entrance to the tunnel. After being dropped off by my unofficial cheer crew (wife and daughter), i joined the obligatory monster queue for the porta-loo and then made my way towards the start line for the 9:30am start.
Because of the toilet stop I was cutting it a bit fine with the start time and as a consequence I was a little further back in the starting field than I would of liked. This did mean quite a bit of weaving about in and out of other runners was required in the first few miles. Not something I usually like to do as I know it can infuriate others. The first mile was very much downhill as the road descended under the Mersey. It then flattened out as we got to the bottom for 400-500 metres before the long and steady climb back up to the surface.
I had deliberately held back in the first mile.being very conscious not too go too fast too soon and not have anything for the climb I knew was in front of me. Thankfully that plan seemed to work and I ended up doing the uphill 2nd mile faster than the downhill 1st mile. I took on some water from the water station at roughly 4K and tried to maintain the steady pace I had set myself for mile 3. So far the race had been fairly devoid of supporters or spectators but as we reached the halfway point and the race turned onto the promenade the support grew with each mile.
I was feeling strong and decided to try and up my pace and try for some negative splits as I felt if I could speed up then 50 minutes might be within reach. The 4th and 5th mile were fast and strong and things were going well. I had managed to catch up with some fellow Warrington Running club peeps, who I knew were faster than me so if I could keep up with them over the last mile then the prospect of a good time was there. Paul very graciously gave me some much needed words of encouragement over this last mile to help me over the line and it was much appreciated. I came home in 49:35 which was great as it was only the 2nd time I had gone sub 50 minutes.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this race as it was hardly going to be the most scenic ever, however I would certainly do it again. The goody bag was good, excellent technical t-shirt and medal and the finish in New Brighton was great as there was plenty for my wife and daughter to do as they waited for me to finish. Think I will be back next year.