The Victoria Park 10k
Victoria Park 10k
by James Cusack
I have wanted to run a sub-40 10k for a long time.
The challenge is my running style. Those who are kind call it “mesmerising” (Matthew Brooks), those who are honest call it “wonky” (Sam Dear), and those who are my friends from Scotland call it “running like a drunk giraffe”. Basically, I am 6 foot 4 inches tall and I have poor control of my gangly, bandy limbs!
Despite this, since running 41:13 at the Bearbrook 10k last year, I’ve been gradually improving. Manchester Marathon is on the horizon for me, so I’ve stepped up the training to about 50 miles/week, whilst trying to balance a newborn baby and work (big thank you to my wife Jenny for tolerating this nonsense). As part of my marathon plan (and because all of sudden a sub-40 10k looked possible) I signed up to the Victoria Park 10k in London.
On the morning I almost didn’t make it. I arrived at the train station to find the first two trains were cancelled.
I was not too amused, but after some chuntering to myself, I eventually accepted that time was short and I would have to drive in to London. Unhelpfully, my sat nav delayed me even further when it took a grandiose turn and suggested I park at the
I arrived at the start line Victoria Park just in time. It was there I witnessed the disgraceful sight of other runners wearing scarves, gloves and hats. I wasn’t having it, and stuck to my vest and shorts.
6k in I was still absolutely freezing and becoming concerned about frostbite. But the course was flat (3 laps of the park), and despite the icy rain, I was running at about 6:08/mile pace.
Throughout, the lead women and I kept swapping places. At this point, she came up with a much more intelligent/constructive plan: we should work together. Her intervention was timely because I was beginning to feel the pace, and so we pushed each other on.
With 500m to go I put in my best sprint and I finished 6th overall. The organiser let me know if that I finished 5th I would have won a prize (a pair of running socks). It’s tough knowing I just missed out on those socks, but I was there for a time! And I was delighted with what I got, 38:12!
Before I joined this club, I thought 38:12 was way out of my reach for a runner of my ability. That’s one reason why I love being a member of LBAC. As a club, we surprise and motivate ourselves and others with our collective and individual performances on a weekly basis. Thank you to you all for that!