Today I competed and completed the Eastleigh 10K. This event has been running for many years and although I’ve lived in the Eastleigh area for almost 20 years, this is the first time that I’ve seen let alone run the race.
Following the advice of the race organisers, I arrived nice and early and parked close to Fleming Park. Arrival time was actually 8:15am which was an hour and 45 minutes before the start time. In reality, I could have arrived 20 to 30 minutes later and still been able to park fairly comfortably. However, for my first participation in the race, I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic particularly as many local roads are closed. (The early start was made a little worse by the clocks going forward an hour for British Summer Time. Hope that doesn’t happen every year on race day!!)
At 9am, I walked into Fleming Park which was very busy with runners. The weather was dry and bright with a cool breeze. Perfect I’d say!
Fleming Park’s main hall had been converted in Race HQ and you could collect your commemorative T-shirt (best to do this before the run), have a sports massage or buy discounted sports equipment from a few local shops. T-shirts only came in small, medium or large so I may find the large a bit of a tight fit!
Was handy being able to use Fleming Park’s facilities (lockers, changing rooms, showers, toilets etc).
With over 1200 entrants, the event was busy. I decided to head down to the starting area shortly after 9:30am to warm up. Many others had the same idea.
The last 30 minutes before the start flew by. I’d like to say I was too engrossed in my warmup but can’t!
Although the event is a no-MP3/earphones one, I spotted plenty of runners with earphones milling around the start line. I was tracking the race using the beta version of Runkeeper Pro 2.2 without earphones having decided to use the iphone’s speaker every few minutes to announce stats.
There didn’t appear to be any announcements near the start line (or at least, I couldn’t hear them) and I didn’t hear any kind of starting gun either. The runners simply started moving forward and before I know it, I was crossing the start line heading up towards Halfords.
My pace for the first couple of miles was under 9 minutes per mile. I didn’t feel as if I was trying too hard though as I was just following the people in front.
As the pace was almost minute faster than my fastest previous pace, it wasn’t too long before I realised I couldn’t sustain it for the whole 6.2 miles. However, prior to the race I’d decided that I wanted to complete the race in 59 minutes (target pace 9:30 minutes per mile). My goal was therefore was simply to achieve this.
There’s one hill on the route although it’s not much of a hill in reality. Had I not been doing some hill training I’d have struggled a little! Fortunately, the hill is followed by a gentle slope back down towards Fleming Park and then a flat run to the finish. This gave me chance to recover a little (helped also by the drinks station at Fleming Park). After a well deserved drink, it was time to embark on the last 2km.
By this stage, my pace was between 9:20 and 9:30 minutes per mile (average for last few weeks) so I was on target for a sub-1 hour 10K.
I struggled a little to work out where the finish line was but was really glad when I finally spotted it. As I crossed it, I neglected to see the finishing time board! Darn!
According to Runkeeper, I took 58 minutes to complete the 10K. Awaiting my official time (the event uses chip timing) but I think it’ll be just under 58 minutes which is definitely a personal best (about 6 minutes faster than the Beaulieu 10K although that was my first 10K and ‘undulating’.
During my run I saw 4 others using Runkeeper. Also, as I had the audio stats through my iPhone speaker, a few other runners asked what I was using when they heard the periodic stats announcements. Maybe a few will check out Runkeeper!
Once I crossed the finishing line, a variety of people fed and watered me with water, coffee, a banana and some fruit cake. All free and very welcome.
Overall, I was really impressed by the event and my performance. I know that I can improve and have set myself the target of completing my next 10K in 52 minutes.
Runkeeper measured the distance to within 0.04 miles which is pretty accurate I’d say!
Official chip time: 57:22
Pace: 9:13 per mile
Position: 1158 out of 1536
My stats and route can be viewed at my Runkeeper profile