Off the back of a pleasing result at the Mersey Tunnel 10K my next race was a local affair. Just a short journey from home to the other side of Warrington to a 10K event hosted by a fellow running club, Warrington Road Runners. It made a nice change to do an evening race rather than a Sunday morning as most of my training runs are usually in the evening to. The weather had been great during the day, but just as forecast the heavens opened on the journey over with some fellow Warrington Running Club members (WRCr’s) and it didn’t let up all evening.
The course was in and around Woolston Park and it was 2 and a bit loops. I usually would avoid looped courses but for 10K it wasn’t too far. It was great to see so many WRCr’s had made he short journey there. In previous years the support from the club to its runners at this race has been great, and given the weather, the supporter turnout was fantastic.
The start was a little bit tight and the first kilometre was a bit bunched as a result. By now I have the confidence not to panic about this and have confidence that any slower splits at the beginning of the race can be clawed back later on. The course seemed to be very well marshalled and there was plenty of shouts of support from the volunteers. I had pretty much lost my bearings after the first few kilometres and didn’t really have any idea where I was in relation to the rest of the course.I decided this didn’t matter and just trusted the distance markers and the Garmin to guide me.
I knew that from the Mersey Tunnel 10K I was able to average 8 minute miles over a 10K course so that is what I set out to achieve. The weather was foul and in some places the course was muddy and a bit slippery so I wasn’t aiming to smash any records. However as the race progressed I felt more and more comfortable. I did the first 3 miles in 7:56, 7:50 and 7:49 respectively. I don’t think I had ever completed a race averaging under 8 minute miles so I decided to try and maintain this current pace and see how long I could last.
This is probably the best feeling I have had whilst running. Everything just seemed to be clicking. i felt comfortable, my breathing was good, there was no niggles from my shins and mentally I felt really relaxed and confident. Usually by about halfway I am being overtaken by the runners who had paced themselves a bit smarter than me, but this time it was me who was slowly but surely overtaking other runners. The support from the WRC cheer squad was fantastic. They set up camp on one corner of the course where the runners passed twice. Seeing (and definitely hearing) them really gave me a huge boost and I even managed a smile and thumbs up. Another sign that I was feeling comfortable.
Mile 4 was 8:01, mile 5 7:34 (to make up for the previous mile) and mile 6 was 7:58. I knew that if I pushed hard for home then I would be in reach of a PB so in the last 0.2 miles I put the hammer down and sprinted for the line. As you will see from my official race picture, this took some considerable effort!!!! I really must remember to keep my mouth closed when I see the photographers :-). 6:46 pace for the last 0.2 helped me over the line in 48:34. I had broken 49 minutes and taken 35 seconds off my previous 10K PB
When I saw the weather and saw the course had some off road sections I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this race at all. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Although it was hard to keep track of where I was on the course as it was a bit confusing I had a great time. A well organised race, well marshalled, well supported and on the doorstep. What more could you ask for really?……..maybe a medal next year 🙂