This race was a little bit different to all the others Phil had done over the past few months. As Phil had only signed up for the race 4 weeks before it took place, he was unsure as to how he would perform – with no specific Marathon training in the locker.
With this being The British Masters Championships, I felt I wanted to at least have a go at the Marathon distance. After my victory in The British Masters Half Marathon Championships for my age group, the idea of being a double British Champion was too tempting to resist. Despite the lack of Marathon training, I have still put in a lot of miles, and hoped that this would be enough to get me through and put in a decent performance. 10 days before the race I did a 20 mile training run, which was the longest run I had done in some time, and it went exactly to plan, provided a much needed boost to my confidence and removed some of the doubts I had.
On race day I felt good and quietly confident that I could run a PB as a minimum, with my 2nd aim being to at least get a medal in the British Masters Race. The course was 5 laps, which was something I hadn’t experienced before, and I decided to go out pretty hard, so I would be at the front of my age group, and then would be able to tell if anyone came past me and race accordingly.
After the 1st lap, I had executed my plan exactly as I had intended; I was sitting in 5th place, having gone through the first 5 miles in under 30 minutes, and was feeling pretty good. 8 miles in and I moved up in to 4th place and was still feeling pretty strong, but very conscious I hadn’t done much over ½ Marathon distance in the previous few months. The 2nd and 3rd lap came and went and I was still feeling good; I knew I was well on course to smash my PB for the distance and, more importantly, was in 1st place in the British Masters for my age group.
During the 4th lap, I really began to feel the miles in my legs, but at 19 miles, where part of the course goes back on itself, I was able to tell that I had opened up nearly a half mile lead on the person behind me and knew it was safe to ease off slightly for the last lap to save my legs. I did this, but with 2 miles to go, despite easing off, I had still managed to make up the time on the person in 3rd place overall, who gradually came closer and closer to me; I could tell that I was feeling stronger than he was. We approached the hill that sat 3 miles into the loop and I sat on his shoulder as we went up it. As soon as I reached the turn to go back down the hill, I made my move and accelerated past him. I still had some strength left in my legs after easing off for the last 3 or 4 miles and accelerated to put some distance between us and, by the time I got to the 26 mile marker, I knew I had secured 3rd place overall and the British Masters Championship for the 35+ category.
Looking back the race really couldn’t have gone any better for me and I ended up hitting all of my goals, running an 8 minute PB, securing a Podium finish and becoming British Champion in my age group for the 2nd time this year. After a couple of races the previous month, where I hadn’t done as well as I had wanted, this felt like I was back to my strongest and, I’m sure with a focused Marathon training schedule over the Winter, that I’ll be able to run another PB at London in April.
The TORQ Running Team is sponsored by the following and without them we would not be able to do what we do, thank you:
Altura – Custom Clothing
Tifosi – Eyewear
Camelbak – Podium Bottles
Zero Point – Compression Wear
USE Exposure – Running Headtorches
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