Wins, but not Slow
by Sam Dear
At the start of 2016, my 10k PB time was at a pace slower per mile than my half marathon PB, so something had to be done. Having not run one since August 2014 I entered three 10k races in early 2016, determined to get under that magic 40 minute mark, with the Winslow 10k being the first.
I arrived in Winslow with Jo and her sister Kathryn who were also running and quickly bumped into Kate and Andrew before walking to the start and finding Adam (with kids in tow), Susan and spotting David Marham across the Sports Hall.
A quick catch up with some work colleagues and Jim from Leighton Fun Runners (I seem to pick up more people to say hello to at every race!) and it was time to get ready for the race.
Adam was unable to go through his usual pre-race routine because of the kids and so spent most of his time trying to keep them apart, Jo and her sister went off to listen to their pre-race “psych me up” music and be alone so I decided to go for a quick jog to find the start line.
The Race HQ is in a school and the start line is approximately 300metres down the road. This unfortunately means an uphill start is in order, but luckily it quickly turns onto the main road and the remainder of the first mile is downhill. As the route heads west it flattens out with a few bumps and winds it’s way under railway bridges and through Verney Junction before heading south and uphill into East Claydon. As the route passes the 5k mark it turns East and you’re met with a steep downhill which eventually flattens out before the toughest part of the course and a hill back into Winslow with only 1km left. Back in Winslow the course heads back and finishes at the school.
After a quick pre-run photo, we lined up and were given a 1 minute warning, but then suddenly the Race Director shouted GO and off we went, charging up the hill. As with a lot of races a lot of people flew out of the blocks and I was with them! Knowing that I had to run fast and that there was an annoyingly placed hill at the end, I knew I needed to start well. Soon after the first turn and down the first hill I fell into step with another runner who seemed to be going well, (but not too well).
We stuck with each other all the way until we reached East Claydon when we turned the corner and I sped away, leaning into and using the downhill while I could. At this point there was a learner vehicle that was in front of me, but was too worried about over taking the runners in case they couldn’t get in again, so instead it just sat in front of me acting as a giant red pacer for about a mile!
As the car turned off, a tractor cut through a gap in the runners in front on this particularly treacherous part of the course and I could see Adam in the distance with nobody around him.
I set my targets on those runners in front and quickly made the calculations in my head that meant I was over 1 and a half minutes below my target time for a sub 40, so had plenty to play with even with the hill at the end. No time to rest on my laurels though and so I gradually reeled them in, caught them and overtook them just as the start of the hill arrived and the 9km point was passed.
My thoughts in any race with 1km to go are, “you can run 1km easily, you’ve done it!” and push on from there, so even with the hill I forced myself to look ahead and not to stoop (or stop). It clearly worked as I overtook another runner on the hill and could see I was definitely catching Adam in the distance.
At the top of the hill however, despite quickening my pace, I couldn’t quite get my legs turning to overtake anybody else, but finished in 12th with a HUGE PB of almost 3 minutes and a time of 38:26.
Jo Sharples and David Marham also achieved PBs with Susan Johnson completing her first ever run in the LBAC Purple & Gold (after much persuasion by Kate). Jo’s sister Kathryn also finished her first ever 10k race, so well done to all! A summary of the LBAC results are below.
Really chuffed with my time and how the race went, but unfortunately I’ve now given myself a really tough job in getting another PB at the MK festival next week!