This was my first race since running the Paris marathon 3 weeks ago, I had left signing up for this one until after the marathon just in case I aggravated my piriformis injury, fortunately I had no issues after running Paris so signed up for Birmingham on the 11th April. The only wave with space available was the pink wave aka 70’s music wave. Not being a big fan of 70’s music, I signed up anyway, feeling disappointed I had missed out on the current music zone and the chance of starting the race to Little Mix or Katy Perry.
I ran a number of Great Run events in 2016 so I was prepared for the large volume of runners and set race time my expectations low in the knowledge that the start was going to be slow going. As with all Great Run events, the organisation was second to none, we all knew where to be and when. On my way to the very back corral I saw an opening into the Green wave (80’s music) and dived in. Hastily warming up during the slow march to the start line and feeling the chill from what felt like a mini hurricane blowing between the buildings of Aston University we were set on our way to the sounds of Wham ringing out, a slight improvement but not my ideal race pump music, nevertheless I was off and fighting my way through the crowds. The first mile is downhill giving you a good chance to open up the legs and make up some places, made even easier with a tail wind. The course runs out to Cannon Hill park around the cricket ground and back down the opposite side of Pershore Road finishing up at Millennium Point, the last mile being up the hill you ran down at the start with the wind right in our faces.
The plan was to run at a 7:20 and put on a fast last mile, if I had taken the time to look at the course elevation beforehand I wouldn’t have been planning on a uphill sprint finish into a head wind, but there you go, we learn from these mistakes. At least I was in for a challenging last mile. From the get go I was running past people in the green wave, the new Adidas Ultraboosts were feeling good and giving me that extra “boost” in my steps. Around 3 miles in the crowds thinned out and I was able to run at my own pace to the finish.
I surprisingly made it around in 44:58, only the second time I have ran under 45 mins. Finishing 447th overall out of approx. 8,000. 66th male in my age category. My splits were 7:36, 7:16, 7:11, 7:08, 7:10, 6:57 the first time I have ever ran a negative split race, although that is mostly down to the crowds slowing my early pace.
Got to say I was impressed with the medal this year, all of the 2016 Great Run medals were very similar so to get a different shaped on for Birmingham was nice. I do suspect that all of the 2017 Great Run medals will be similar to this though.