Apologies for the lack of pictures accompanying this report. Through an extraordinary series of events my photographer, driver, trainer, nutrition expert, running coach, fan club and cheerleader were all unavailable – she had a more pressing engagement. It was a warm, dry morning (17 degrees) and the only fly in the ointment was a 16mph westerly wind. This wind had been forecast all week and it did demoralise me a bit as I knew half the route would be running into it and my experience from the weekly parkrun 5k is that anything over a 10mph wind adversely affects my running time.
There was a good turn out for this event – about 500 runners – most doing the 10k but a good number running 5k. We shared the start and the first few k until the 5k runners veered off to the left for the return. I started strongly – too strongly as it would turn out. Although I was running into the wind from the 1k marker I ran it at 5k pace through a combination of inexperience at 10k level and utter stupidity. My time at 5k was 21 minutes 40 seconds and I told myself just one more k into the wind then you can coast home with the wind behind you. But the first 5k had taken too much out of me and when I turned for home my energy levels were low, even with the wind behind me. Try as I might I could not sustain the pace I wanted. Just after the 6k point I passed a prostate runner lying at the side of the route being attended to by a couple of anxious looking fellow runners (I learned later that she was out cold for 4 minutes but had come round and recovered by the time the ambulance arrived) I tried to push on but the legs weren’t obeying. From the 7k sign to the 8k sign seemed to take forever – so much so that I started to think that I had missed the 8k marker. At 9k there was a significant hill – not what you want at that stage of the race. Worse still when I thought the hill was over there was one final uphill twist. By this stage I was just trying to keep going. There was no-one around me to push me on and I was lacking motivation and focus. Finally the finish gantry appeared in the distance and I summoned up one last tame effort. I crossed the line in 44 minutes 22 seconds – under my target time of 45 minutes but having run a poor race in terms of pacing and performance.