By Sam Dear
I’m not sure whether a certain Inchley brother had a hidden agenda or whether it was a new and genius coaching technique, but with most of the eight Buzzards present at the Silverstone 10k believing the start time was later than it actually was, a bit of an almighty scramble took place to get there on time for 7.30pm.
The Silverstone 10k is organised every year by Silson Joggers as the first race in the East Midlands Grand Prix series of 8 midweek races and has now been running for 31 years. The course is two laps of the old “Bridge” circuit which up until 2010 was the British Grand Prix Circuit. Now decommissioned, it’s good to hear that they will be keeping the tarmac down so this race can continue unchanged for years to come.
Myself and the Haylocks were running late even for a 7.45 start and after navigating the horrendous Aylesbury traffic, being stuck behind 3 (Yes THREE!) different tractors and the SatNav taking us the scenic route, we eventually made it to the starting grid after a sprint to collect our numbers at 7:27pm. Perfect timing you could say, but I’m not so sure about perfect race preparation!
I was slightly disappointed that they hadn’t set up the lights at the start and had settled for a man with a loud speaker. Similar but not quite as dramatic as… red….red…red… GREEN, “Go, go, go!” with Murray Walker’s voice echoing in my ears.
Maybe it was due to the fact I’d had to sprint to the start line, but I started off very fast, and felt comfortable just sitting in behind Adam who was chatting along with a fellow runner. A flash of purple and gold overtook me and I noticed Tim sidle up alongside Adam, saw the look of panic on Adam’s face as he realised the race was on, and they were off!
I had been warned that the course was fairly flat and ok as long as it wasn’t windy, but I think it was fair to say it was pretty breezy – especially heading up Hangar Straight, about 1 mile into the lap. It was at this point when I noticed Elliot steadily overtake me looking comfortable despite having run the MK Half just two days previously. I wasn’t too worried though as I knew I’d gone off too fast, so just concentrated on falling into that rhythm at a PB pace.
The rest of the lap I was able to relax into my stride and take in the surroundings, a few skid marks here and there where people had pushed it that little bit too far and there were huge and numerous grandstands for the crowds to watch as vehicles roar by at 200mph. They were a little empty on this particular evening, and we were going a bit slower than the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber, but still a fair few supporters were around the pit area spurring on their team in as we completed the first lap.
5k done. Half way and still on target for a PB.
By this point Adam and Tim were long gone, having their own battle for supremacy towards the front, with Elliot also running well. Behind me the other Buzzards of Amy, Chris D, Chris W and Katie were all running strongly and hoping they could get their own PBs.
Considering this was my first proper competitive run since my slight altercation with a car windscreen in late January, it seemed quite fitting that it was to be done on one of the world’s most famous motor racing tracks. Even though I’m not much of a motor racing fan, the chance to run around the iconic circuit seemed too good an opportunity to turn down. Definitely one to tick off the list at least and I’m glad I entered.
The second lap was more about hanging in there and not letting it slip. Having looked at all the sights on the first lap the main highlight of the second lap was having the sun come out as I came out of the wind at the end of Hangar Straight. Knowing what the weather could have been like I very much appreciated the golden glow of the low evening sun across the grandstands and onto the impressive Silverstone Wing building.
Back to the race and suddenly the 9km marker was ahead of me, followed by some great encouragement from Richard and Tom Inchley and I knew I had to start to make a move to get this PB.
Time to ignite the burners.
WHACK! Straight into the wind, which was both disheartening and a bit of a shock just as you’re stepping up the pace for the finish. As quick as it came though, another corner and into the home straight and it was gone again. Really time to pick it up. I always like to finish strong and managed to gain a few more places whilst coming into what was once the F1 finishing straight. No chequered flag, but plenty of encouragement from the spectators and other runners as I managed my personal goal of a PB by just over 10 seconds.
Towards the front of the field, I hear there was some competitive teamwork from Adam and Tim helping Adam to finish as the first Buzzard home in 58th position following on from his win at the Thornborough 5 on Monday. Tim finished only 8 seconds behind with Elliot making it 3 Buzzards in under the 40 minute mark.
Before I’d collected my breath and bottle of water and moved aside, Amy and the two Chris’ had all finished their run with Katie not far behind them, the girls I believe, with excellent PBs under their belt.
With all 8 Buzzards finishing inside the top 320 out of a strong field of over 1100 and with the majority getting PBs and all getting great times, an excellent evening of racing was had despite the slightly sticky start. Everybody involved should be chuffed with their performances.
Overall, for those who haven’t run before, the Silverstone 10k is well organised and well attended giving you that “Big race” feel and meaning there is always someone near you that will help you push yourself that little bit further. A flat, but fairly uninteresting course, (unless you’re really into British Motor racing history!) but also a great one for attempting to beat that PB. The Marshals were all very helpful and encouraging and you can’t really ask for much more than that, although I was slightly disappointed with the finishing prize of a fluorescent green drawstring bag! For a 10k race though that is fairly local it’s definitely worth spending a Wednesday evening with 1000 other runners. At the very least it’s not often you can make the sound of a Formula 1 racing car every time you pass someone along the finishing straight!