London Easter 10k
I spent Easter in London; at the last minute I had a look to see if there were any races on in the capital during the extended break. Happily I found a 10k race with spaces left in Regent’s Park on Bank Holiday Monday. But a heavy night out on Saturday meant that Sunday was spent recovering and Monday was upon me before I knew it. I awoke on race day still feeling slightly groggy, with the wind rattling the windows and rain sheeting down outside. While getting ready I considered the conditions and tried to come to terms with the fact I can’t party like I used to. Unsuprisingly, this led me to conclude that this wasn’t going to be a PB day.
I sat in the car doing the crossword with my better half until 10 minutes before the race, when I trotted out and began to warm up in the persistent rain. I rarely run 10ks unless they’re on a treadmill where I can comfortably put down 38.30. Outdoors, undulation and varying surfaces make it completely different and having run fewer 10ks than Ultras in my time, my PB sits somewhere around 40-41 minutes. Ideally I’d run under 40 minutes today.
We set off in a field of about 250 and I religiously followed my garmin and its beeping alerts. I didn’t go off too quickly, but made sure I stayed on sub 4-minute kms throughout the race. The route followed three laps of Regent’s Park. The first, assisted by the rain, went swimmingly. By the end of it I’d gone past all the people who set off too quickly at the gun and had settled into a good rhythm. The second lap kicked in and I maintained my pace, ending all my laps between 3.45 and 3.55 minutes. But by the third lap, when we’d started lapping people, my pace had begun to drop and I put down a 4.07 kilometre and then a 4.03.
I’d been running too well up until this point to let a treasured sub-40 10k out of my sight, so I really dug in and pressed on. Kilometre 8 and kilometre 9 clocked at 3.58 and 4.00, respectively, and with the time I’d banked on the earlier laps I was starting to get excited: only if I really started slowing would I not make this a sub 40 10k now. As I approached 10km I realised my timer read 39.30; thoughts of ‘I’ve done it’ mingled with counteracting concerns that the finish still seemed to be another 150m away. Either my GPS garmin was wrong or the course was. Either way I could not stop my watch until I’d crossed the line, which I duly did in 40.07.
I was happy with my run, although by the course it was a 40.07 10k and not a sub 40. I spoke to several other runners who had clocked between 10.10km and 10.20km, so I’m reasonably sure I did run 10km in under 40 minutes. Unfortunately this is irrelevant – I raced the course and it beat me by 7 seconds. Another way of looking at it would be to say that if I hadn’t gone out partying on the Saturday night I would have clocked under 40 minutes anyway.
Ah well. It was an enjoyable race nonetheless, I finished 15/266, it broke up the weekend nicely, and every now and again it is good fun taking part in races that do not last for 12hrs at a time.