The morning of the race I was pretty relaxed. The weather was nice enough, and only having a few miles to travel on race day is something I could get used to. The set up, despite the grandeur of the race course, was pretty low key. The start/finish was a short way from the spectators which seemed odd - 10k is 10k, so presumably they could easily have had the finish alongside one of the grandstands? Anyway, I found myself on the start line, and bumped into fellow SWAC member Dave Marsh who'd I'd last seen at Bolton Hill before he ran Comrades. We had a quick chat, and then we were off.
After sort of exploding at the Liverpool 10k in the summer, I decided on a fairly simple plan. Run 4:15 kms for as long as possible. That pace all the way around would give me a PB, and although I wasn't feeling in super shape, I knew steady, even kms was my best shot.
I ran the first one a little quick, but soon settled down, and hit my target pace comfortably all the way to 6km. I was giving it my best human metronome and hitting my goal pace within 1-2 seconds each km, although it felt like I was the only one - all the people around me seemed to be overtaking me, then dropping back, then overtaking me again, which was a bit annoying. One guy in particular was bugging me a bit until we hit 7km on the stretch past Bechers Brook, then he bugged me a lot. It was a bit breezy, and this long straight was into the wind. I was starting to struggle a little and having to dig in a bit against the wind, and this cheeky bugger had tucked right in behind and was drafting me. I moved way across to let him know I knew what he was up to and give him a taste of the wind he was hiding from - he disappeared shortly after that.
Then at 8km I got a bit of a second wind. Maybe it was my body realising I only had a short distance left to go and letting me have the all the energy I had left, but I managed a reasonable kick, running the last 2 km in 4:08s - although it felt faster. I gave it the kitchen sink for the last couple hundred metres making up quite a few places, and crossed the line in 42:25, a PB by nearly a minute. I grabbed my goody bag, had a quick drink, and briefly wondered where everyone was. It wasn't too obvious which way to go back to the car park, but I eventually found the way, and was home by 1045,- earlier than I normally get back from my usual Sunday club run. When the results came out I reaslised why the finish area was so empty - I'd come 24th out of 587 which I was well chuffed with. Almost