Posted: Yesterday at 10:10
I’ll keep it relatively brief as we await the ‘main event’. This is a race I’ve run twice before in 2011 (42.25) and 2013 (40.25), the latter coming just at the end of the a few months where I’d set my 10k and half pbs.
With that in mind I had several possible target times all very close together i.e PB, sub 40, 40.17 (70% wava time), 40.25 and as a complete backstop just a time that began with 40.
As luck would have it the sniffles I had been harbouring all week manifested itself into a full on cold on Friday night. Sunday morning I was sat in bed at 6.45 eating my porridge feeling very sorry for myself with what was to come. Had I not been going with a friend I wouldn’t have gone.
We arrived in Leamington and headed for our usual parking spot, being the defunct job centre. We had our usual joke about how Leamington was so affluent it didn’t need the service. By this time it was already 8.20. I immediately made my way to the toilets. This is where the race really lets itself down. There were roughly 8 portaloos for a field of nearly 2000. The queue was enormous, and contained spectators as well as runners. I decided to bin it off and made my way into the overgrown area and did what I needed to. Time then for a quick warm up which consisted of 7-8 minutes easy running and 5 strides then over to the start. Whilst there were time zones it was quite apparent that people had paid no attention to them. Therefore I placed myself right in the middle of the sub 40 zone.
The race got under way a few minutes late and as I suspected, the first km was spent picking my way through people that would be lucky to finish in sub 50. The race has a very distinct split in that the first 4-5k is undulating and on trail paths, some of which is fairly uneven. I hadn’t realised before, however RB class it as a multi-terrain race.
Anyway, the first few k passed and I was feeling pretty strong and sticking to around 4 min/k (my gps was all over the place due to the wooded sections so I was timing myself based on the stopwatch and km markers). As I go through 2-3 k I briefly spot Lou and mcf. I practically have to go out of my way to get mcf to see me, this costs me vital seconds!
At 3-4km things go terribly wrong. This is undeniably the hilliest part of the race and I really lose it and start giving up, justifying my weakness on the illness I am carrying. Somewhere just after 4k the hill peaks and there is a fair downhill. I have a decent chat with myself and remind myself the second half is very flat and all on roads. I recall passing 5k in about 20.40, so whilst sub 40 was very unlikely, the race was capable of being rescued to something credible. I start getting into a very nice rhythm and find myself running with a few guys of equal capability.