Mersey Tunnel 10K

a hard one

11 messages
22/09/2002 at 18:01
Conditions: dry, sunny, ~15 deg C; light-mod N wind
not that any of the above would be relevant in the Kingsway Tunnel! - but at least one of the above factors would be very significant in the latter part of the race.

Start 10.00 - far too early for me! - meant I had to be up at 6 to get a decent breakfast down in time.
Arrive about 0920 & spend 20 mins in the huge queue for the inadequate 4 portaloos. Give up & head for a spot behind a parked car like lots of other blokes. Strip off & hand over bag of gear to be taken to other end of course. Still got 10-15 mins to do a few strides thankfully.
A nice wide start line means I get no probs starting from about the 2nd row. Away we go, threading our way down various back streets en route for the tunnel. Try to get a fix on my exact position going round a corner & nearly lose my footing as a result - probably about 30th. Thru 1K in 3:30 - faster than I should be. HR also is already nudging 170, I note in passing. Ignore these inconvenient observations and down a slip road onto the main tunnel carriageway.
We've got a good mile of descent now, so relax into some sort of rhythm & track the group just in front. 2K in 7:02 - consistent pace if nothing else.
Occasional chat echoes in the tunnel as we descend. Suddenly a wheelchair racer hurtles past, making the most of the gradient. 3K in 10:32 - wow! this IS consistent. But there's the bottom of the tunnel looming up, and soon the dreaded climb out begins.
It's not so much the gradient itself, it's the length of the climb that takes its toll. Halfway up, we pass the wheelchair racer, now struggling to propel himself at any sort of speed. Tunnel exit in sight at 4K - passed in 14:19 - the pace is dropping - and HR is creeping towards 180 as I try to hang onto two orange Rivacre vests just ahead.
Out of the main tunnel shaft, but the ascent continues towards the distant toll booths - mentally v difficult. Sharp left, exit off a slip road and finally the summit is reached. Totter down to the 5K marker and past in 18:55 - hmmmm! last 1K in 4:36????- it was slow, but not THAT slow.

continued...
22/09/2002 at 18:05
second half...

Along Seacombe Dock Road, past the U boat on exhibition (U534). The climb has taken its toll and I'm badly detached, a good 50m behind the next runner. Turn towards Seacombe Ferry Terminal - must have missed the 6K marker. Even the slight rise up to the roundabout at the ferry saps my legs now - HR steady in the high 170s and I'm really struggling.
Onto the riverbank promenade - and that wind is a major factor - seemingly dead against. A runner in a Wirral vest steams past steadily, and I fasten onto him in desperation. 7K marker in 26:31. I focus on the pair of black shorts in front & try to hang on.
Every so often my mind wanders and a gap appears. Manage to close it each time. He's dragged me up to another runner. 8K marker in 30:40, but I've forgotten about km splits now.
I'm aware of an old man on a bike to my left, irritatingly relaxed as he glides past ahead of us. One of a group of kids shouts "What are you doing this for?" as the 3 of us plough on. No sign of the 9K marker as Wirral and I gradually drop the runner we've overtaken. Next runner is a good 50m+ ahead - too far away.
I spot the race timer on the lead car first of all. Is that the finish? Why are people running past it? Then I see it - the crowd and second clock above the finish line in the distance. Gather myself, find something in reserve and kick from about 150m out. Wirral goes with me, but not for long. Thru the line in 38:31 and to my surprise, find I'm 20th.
I go to shake hands with Wirral vest, but he's clearly not happy with my tailgating him (separate thread on General). Collect gear, check splits and HRs. I averaged 175 - 4 higher than last week's 10K race - and it feels like it. Peaked at 186 at the finish - highest I've seen since March.
Haven't got winners' details yet, but I was assured that the winner was African, and broke 32 minutes - fantastic performance in those conditions. Ditto the few runners who I heard saying they'd got PBs - I can only congratulate them.
First time I've ever done this race - not perfect (loos, km markers missing / misplaced) but yes, I'll probably be back next year!
22/09/2002 at 18:36
Mike, I've been looking forward to this report all weekend! Sounds really tough but 20th position's excellent in what sounds like a good quality field.

Excellent report - as always.
22/09/2002 at 18:46
Well done Mike, excellent report and race. I'm off to read about Wirral vest now!
22/09/2002 at 22:31
Trotters Version

Up from Yeovil for the weekend ( Aunts 80th Birthday)it semed like a good idea at the time to run my second 10k through a tunnel I had often driven through when working in the city.

Conditions seemed idea to me,dry, quite warm although the previous nights sleep had been distrubed at the prospect of the tunnel climb and so it proved.

Decided this time to start near the back of field, the theory being, unlike my first race that I would feel beter at having the chance to pass people, rather than looking back over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't last !!!!

1K marker in 5.15 in line just, with my only PB !! of 52.37.

Enjoyed the decent, like you would, I missed the 2 K marker if there was one ? come to think of it I did not see a marker at 3 or 4, not it would have made much difference to my performance !!!, as I climbed out of the tunnel.

It was tough as expected, at least I kept runnng, made mental note at the time to actually follow what Bob Glovers book had suggested for training up hills. Learn & live I suppose.

Reached. 5 K marker in 26.38, I knew I would be struggling to beat PB now, but clung on to the hope I could respond during last few K's.

The wind at Seacombe Ferry put paid to that hope and as the climb took its toll, it was head down as my strides got shorter and shorter.

Attempts to sprint and jog between the prom benches as markers in an attempt to make a final push,seemed to have no effect,(must only work with lampposts).

The finish could not come soon enough, and as I approached the finishing line I could see my previous PB ticking away to eventually finish in 53.30.

Having driven home to Yeovil, listened to the blues get beaten by Villa on the radio,and with my legs feeling a tad sore, I was feeling a bit low.

I was wondering if Mike had filed a report and so he had. Having read his report from an elite runners point of view, well he is compared to me !! it was comforting to note his comments and may be I was a bit harsh of myself, so 53.30 did not seem too bad after all, roll on next year !!!








22/09/2002 at 23:07
Enjoyed your report as always, sounds tough but well done on your position Mike. Have already posted on your tailgating thread - nothing personal! And well done for doing it at all Andrew.
23/09/2002 at 06:49
Mike

Its all so real - you tell a great tale. Having driven through the tunnel many time and run past the Ferry even more often it's all the more dramtic. Sounds like a tough one but well done nonetheless.
cougie    pirate
23/09/2002 at 10:20
Well done Mike Good report and great time - I might have a go at that next year.
I ran at Guilden Sutton yesterday - cheaper race, and i thought less hilly. Still a few bumps though, but it was nice to run in the sun. Struggled though with something like 40.37. Must do more training !
23/09/2002 at 11:35
Well done guys. Sounds like a tough race, that's a great result Mike you should be well pleased, 20th is outstanding.
25/09/2002 at 11:14
results now up on
http://www.joelee.co.uk/cgi-local/raceresults.cgi?event=../2002/tunnel/tunnel02.html
30/09/2002 at 12:01
Ran the Mersey tunnel 10k, wasn't looking forward to it due to all the lead, carbon monoxide, the steep climb
and I had seen some rather large rats when travelling through the tunnel in the past.
However the conditions was were quite pleasant and the climb up the tunnel wasn't as difficult as I imagined it
was going to be. Hit the 5k marker in 21:15 and new I had a chance of a PB, this spurred me on at 7k when I
started to feel tired. The lovely sea breeze on the promenade cooled me down and I was on familiar territory
as this is where I do some training runs. Finished in 42:50 which took 40 seconds of my PB and this was very
satisfying in the conditions.

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