Set at Rockingham, Europe’s fastest Racing Circuit, this is an ideal setting for a PB or going for some end of season glory.
The above line was how this race was advertised, so with my current 10k PB being on a tough Trail course, I thought this was a prime opportunity to post a decent time. Unfortunately, the day before the race, we saw weather warnings with winds of 45mph hitting the area of the country where race was taking place. It was so bad, that the earlier planned Duathlon had the cycle element cancelled due to the weather and concerns for safety. The circuit is pretty exposed and the stands create a bowl effect, as the wind seems to swirl round without ever giving you any real benefit of a tail wind.
On my warm up before the race, I could tell it was going to be tough and a battle with the elements, because as soon as you got away from the sanctuary of the pit lane, where the race starts, the wind was blowing a gale, making it really difficult to pick up any sort of pace. In the pre-race brief we were told a lot of the km markers had also blown away, so to use our watches if we wanted to know how far we had run.
When the gun sounded, I set off with the lead group of about 6 or 7 runners, but by the time we had reached a mile in, there was a group of 3 of us who had broken away and already put some distance between ourselves and the rest of the pack. We ran together for the next mile, each taking turns to sit on the front and take the full force of the wind. At the 2 mile marker though, a runner from Leicester Corithians, Gordan Lee, stepped up the pace and started to put some distance between him and us other two; I in turn increased my pace and started putting some distance between myself and the young lad from Essex who was in 3rd. By the time we reached the half way stage, I had built up a considerable lead on 3rd, but was struggling to make any ground on 1st place.
The 2nd lap was much tougher, as the wind had really picked up and you had to weave through some of the slower 10k runners still on their 1st lap and also, the 10 mile runners who had set off 10 minutes after us, but were on the same course. The final mile was in the most exposed part of the stadium; the wind was howling and it felt that even giving all the effort you could, you were going backwards, and this really affected my time, posting my slowest mile here, but as you turn into the pits for the final quarter of a mile, you get a bit of protection from the wind. I could see the clock ticking and made a last kick, desperately trying to dip under 35 minutes; unfortunately, I just missed this and finished in 35:06.
This was still a PB for me and enough to give me 2nd place by a considerable margin, but I know there is a lot more in the tank on a fast course which isn’t affected by 45 mph winds and weather warnings. So overall, it was a decent race for me and another podium finish just 2 weeks after my 3rd place at The Newcastle Town Moor Marathon, but it just leaves me chomping at the bit to post a really quick 10k in the near future.
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