Reigate Priory AC Summer Evening 10K
I entered this a while back, got my number in the post a few weeks ago, put it in a drawer and more or less forgot about the race until a few days ago. After the NF10 on Sunday, my legs were a bit tired, although an easy 8 miler on Tuesday helped sort that out. However, with a 50 miler coming up this Sunday, I was unsure about whether to do this race. There was a nagging voice at the back of my mind (which sounded a little like Dips ) telling me not to push it and risk injury when things are going so well. I found myself justifying doing the race by pretending that I was planning on doing the 50 on tired legs, and after a sleepless night camping, so to try and simulate the second half of the 100 coming up next month. Tenuous?
Yesterday afternoon I did a little research to see what the course was like.. undulating, more hills in second half and the last km off road through some woods. Hmm.. might not be a fast race. Still, I thought that if I could set off at a good pace and cope with the undulations, I should be on for a PB. I had 44:53 to beat, set last May on a flat course. I thought I should be able to at least match the pace I did at the weekend, which would get me under 44 mins.
I stuck to my normal after work race routine and had a yummy burrito for lunch Changed at work and off to Reigate, where I found parking not far from Priory Park where the race was based. I jogged to the start, went to the loo and had a bit more of a jog as a warm up and then headed to the start with a few minutes to spare. I lined up near to the front – probably in the first 50 or so out of 300 or more runners.
The race was started by a gun (which seems to be pretty rare these days?) and off we went. A short distance on grass and out of the park onto roads, turning onto a busy road where we were mostly running on the pavement. This then turned onto a quieter road with a bit of gentle ascent. I was holding my own, passing a few here and there without many coming past me. The first 5km or so were reasonably undulating – a few sharp, but short rises but overall slightly downhill. Water station at around halfway which I didn’t bother with and then start of some more gradual ascent. Swapped a few words with another runner who appeared to be holding a stitch.. “42, 43?” as asked.. “I think so.. hopefully” I replied. I pushed on a little and left him behind.
Into the 4th mile and more gentle ascent and then in the 5th mile a longer, steeper hill to climb. I was really working hard now, and although my pace slipped to around 8 min/mi going up the hill, I pushed on over the top and down the other side. As I mentioned elsewhere, I was doing 5:xx down the hill, lungs bursting and thought about Pete and co doing that pace for the whole 10 miles on Sunday – respect.
The 6th mile saw us running alongside the park and then turn in, across the grass and away from the finish. There was definitely a sting saved for the end of this race. For half a mile or so, it was pretty clear that the 1st lady (a RPAC runner) was right on my heels and getting great support and I expected her to pass at any point. I exchanged a quick hello with Ant Bliss (photographer) and headed onto a trail around a lake and climbing up into some woods. One last steep climb and then a turn and a downhill finish out of the woods and across the park. I went for it as much as I could but couldn’t prevent the 1st lady from passing – turned out she was late teens/early 20s so not too concerned with that!
I saw sub-42 slip away and cross the line, gasping for breath, in 42:06
Bloke with maybe stitch came in shortly after and we had a bit of a chat whilst trying to catch our breath – he went off to check times and came back to tell me I’d finished in 41st place. Big grins at my PB, knocking nearly 3 minutes off
After some water, I did a small lap of the park and jogged back to the car to warm down and that was that.
splits: 6:31 6:39 6:28 6:48 7:04 6:48 1:48 (6:12 min/mi)