My first proper race way back in 2010 was the Eastleigh 10K. As a local race, this event is right on my doorstep which makes it an attractive option. I’ve run it every year since 2010 and this year, although it fell on my 46th Birthday, that wasn’t going to stop me.
Due to some concerns from local retailers about the impact the 10am start had on their businesses, the start time had been changed to 9am. This meant an earlier than usual start to my day with my alarm set for 6:10am with the intent of leaving home for 7am to secure a good parking place.
I was feeling more confident about the event than the last few years as I’d been training more and was hoping to get close to the PB I’d set way back in 2011 with a finish time of 49:49.
With breakfast consumed, it was time to head out to Fleming Park. The journey took 7 minutes which meant I was rather early.
On arrival, I headed for the main hall to collect my race t-shirt and see if I could spot any fellow Lordshillers. I wasn’t disappointed to find a small group just inside the door including Lauren (who’s like a rocket and running really well), Paul and a few others.
After saying hello, I went off to collect my T-shirt and speak to Race Director, Steve, and his trusty sidekick, David Blackman. David had very kindly managed to wangle race number 1 for me for which I was very grateful.
Once I had my (very good quality) technical t-shirt, I caught up with several other Lordshillers before noticing that the queue for T-shirts was getting longer and longer. I spoke to David and asked if I could help, grabbed a pen to mark the race numbers of the runners who’d collected a T-shirt and set to work.
I really enjoyed helping out as it meant that I could wish the other runners a good race. It also gave me the opportunity to see a few running friends as they collected their T-shirts.
Almost an hour later with the time approaching 8:40am, David thanked me and let me go to warm-up. I’d missed the Lordshill photo but I had enough time for some dynamic stretches and a light warm up. As I warmed up I spoke to Jonathan Smith who was looking to finish sub-50 so we decided to run together. Great!
At about 8:45am, we walked to the start with several other LRRs. We found what looked like a good position to start and waited the 8 or so minutes for the gun.
Before we knew it, we were off. It was perfect running weather. Clear, dry with a gentle-ish breeze.
I won’t go into any real detail about the race other than to say that it went well for me for the first 7km. John and I were running together, occasionally checking each of us was ok. At about 7km, the course heads away from the finish again and I always find the 7-8.5km section of the race a struggle.
Until that point, my km splits were roughly 5 mins per km and I knew I had to hold it together to get close to a PB. Unfortunately the mental struggle got the better of me and I started to lag behind John and shouted for him to keep going.
I’d lost it at this point last year and finished in about 53 minutes. I didn’t want that to happen again so knuckled down and tried to up my pace to get back on track. Fortunately, the last 3 km are flat so there was no reason why I couldn’t get close to my PB.
At about 8km, the course starts heading back towards the finish. I tried to keep my pace knowing that once I got to 9km, I’d be almost finished.
I kept Jonathan in my sights as best I could. The last 600m is on an uneven path which is well lined with spectators. I had to up my pace to get closer to 50 minutes. At about 9km, my Garmin was giving a predicted finish time of 50:20. I still had some work to do.
As I ran the last 600m, my predicted finish time kept doing down. As I got closer to the finish, it shows 49:57. There was still hope!
With a couple of 100m to go I heard Chris Stocks shout some encouragement. Thanks Chris. One last chance for a PB.
I crossed the finish line with my Garmin showing 49:51. 2 seconds slower than my PB. However, I was happy to get so close after 4 years. I also knew it was an age-grade PB. That’d do for me.
Here are my finish times over the years:
- 2010: 57:22
- 2011: 49:49
- 2012: 52:41
- 2013: 50:03
- 2014: 53:13
- 2015: 49:51
Thanks to everyone that gave encouragement around the course and for the team that organised the event. Here’s to the 2016’s event.