This was the first race of 2019 and I am starting off earlier than ever with a race 13 days into the new year. I signed up for this race to give myself a baseline on where my 10k pace is at but also I felt I could run a PB having come within 6 seconds at the Victoria Park 10k two months ago.
When I signed up I know it was a risk planning on attempting a PB in January given the unpredictable nature of the British weather. In Jan 2018 I ran the Kidsgrove 10k in a blizzard. Flash forward 12 months to Tatton Park and it wasn’t snowing but it was grey, rainy and very windy. The forecast was 40mph winds but thankfully that moved back a couple of hours but we still had 20mph wind.
Tatton Park is an out & back course through the park with some stunning views and lots of wildlife to keep you occupied. There is an uphill section from mile 3 – 4 where you turn and come back. The plan was to kick on and give it everything from mile 4 back down the hill and hang on.
Sadly during my warm up run I discovered that the wind was behind us on the way out and a head wind for the run back home. My plan to kick on meant it would be into a 20mph headwind. The new plan was to just race those around me and not worry too much about time. Work hard and see if I can score a top 20.
Splits: 6:03, 6:09, 6:32, 6:43, 6:25, 6:52, 5:39
I did something I don’t usually do and lined up right at the front, well second row. I wouldn’t normally go up front because I never saw myself as fast enough to be up there, but today I decided that I would race them and see if they can drag me around faster.
The first two miles were flat and sheltered from the wind, I was pushing hard here as I saw that as an easy chance to bag some time before getting wind blasted later. By mile 3 I had pushed on into 10th place and got my first taste of the wind as we went out for a little loop before rejoining the main road way at which point two deer came wandering out of the trees, stopping right in front of me. I wasn’t sure whether they would charge at me or get scared and run at me anyway so I left plenty of room. Turned out that I was probably more scared than they were as they didn’t move a muscle.
Then came the hill at mile 4, I knew once this was done it was downhill for the next mile before a bump to the finish. The hill wasn’t as bad as I thought, I picked off another guy who was struggling up there. Then we turned for the final 3k home and the wind hit you like a brick wall.
The run down the hill was only marginally quicker than the run up it. Mile 5 – 6 was a bit more of a bump than I thought, a 60ft bump! that coupled with the wind really slowed me, at which point a pack of 4 came past me. I used that as motivation to dig deep and push on, thinking that if I can join onto the back of them they should give some shelter from the wind and I can pick them off on the run to the finish.
At the top of the hill the pack was getting stretched out and I knew I probably wouldn’t catch the first 3 but one guy kept looking over his shoulder to see where I was so I knew he was struggling and I had him. When we ran back through the trees to the finish I made my move and sprinted past him at the same time someone else came sprinting past me, then we rounded the corner and I saw the finish line at least 400m away, I had expected it to be right here. I could hear someone close behind so I just had to dig deeper still and give it everything and managed to hold him off.
In the end I finished up in 13th place overall and 12th male and in a new PB time of 39:46!! that was the first time I have ran under 40 minutes. A great start to 2019 taking down my second longest standing PB.
Given the tricky weather conditions that has given me lots of confidence that I can go faster in the coming months. I am only 5 weeks into the new training plan with 3 weeks of speed work so far. After a few more months of hard graft then I think I will target a sub 39, although my coach has now set me the challenge of running sub 38 by the summer.
Once again another great event organised by RunThroughUK. Great organisation and marshelling despite the wind causing some issues in the runner village.
One guy at the end did come up to me asking “Where do I get my finisher t-shirt?”, he seemed quite annoyed that he didn’t get a shirt. My person view on this is, you haven’t paid much for the race entry yet still received a great medal, refreshments and the support of the team on the day. I wouldn’t want or expect to receive a shirt having paid £18.50 for a race and to be honest, I would much prefer to pay a cheaper entry fee and not receive a finishers tee at all. I bet you are like me and have a cupboard full of race shirts just gathering dust, I have so many I could probably wear a different one everyday for a good couple of months. Let me know what you think about finishers shirts.