Hull 10k

Loved and loathed in equal measure the Hull 10k divides opinions like no other race amongst local club runners. However there is no denying that a event (however you complete) that gets over 3500 people moving as got to be good, particularly if it raises a bit of cash for charity. Remember tomorrows “fun runner” could be tomorrow club runners.

One benefit of a local race is I could have a nice and relaxed start to the day. That involves a short bus journey, a good strong coffee and  a good chat with Tim Simpson and Mike Petersen as I made the way to the baggage area.

I warmed up next to the courts which allowed me to get close to the front with about 10 minutes from the start (thanks to last years winner and club mate Alec Gibson for that bit of advice). Eyeing up who was at the start I had decided like the 5k race from the previous Tuesday I’d go out very hard and see what pace I could maintain. To this end I could see Carla Stansfield (City of Hull) and Stephen Maddison (York Knavesmire Harriers), both are much faster than me but if I could keep them in sight then I should be dragged around to a decent time.

Onto the race and I barely made it to 1k before I started to drop off from my chosen targets, however the gap was growing slowly and the first mile was passed (for me) in a new best of 5:37. This was also the more straightforward portion of the course. The next two miles around Victoria Dock dropped to 6.04 and then 6.16. I’d have preferred to keep closer to 6 minute miling, however I was finding it much tougher than the 5k the previous Tuesday. Was I paying for the earlier fast first mile?

From here the course changes from previous years due to ongoing improvement works around Hull City Centre for the City of Culture 2017. It was a maze of twist and turns, somebody mentioned that there was over 60 turns on the course. To be honest I was really finding it tough going and I was just doing my best to hang in there and keep some level of pace. The benefit of this course is there is always something to think about and plenty of opportunity to see club mates going in the other direction. Talking of which just before 4 miles there is a 180 degree turn and I was surprised how close a few club mates where. This gave me some impetus to make sure I didn’t drop off too much.

Hull 10k 2016 Route
Just a couple of turns
Hull 10k finish
Finishing strong at the Hull 10k

Miles 4, 5, and 6 passed in 6:13, 6:16 and 6.06, the latter of which I think was thanks to the smell of the finish but also strong runner passed me at 5 miles and therefore I tried to stay with him.

For me the best thing about Hull 10k is the finish, a good 400m past Queens garden and then onto Alfred Gelder Street past all the crowds that always come out. Never one to disappoint I managed to pick up to 5.27 pace for the last .2 mile.

Overall happy with my Hull 10k as it was a season’s best of 38:05 for 25th place and my second fastest 10k ever.

 

 

Phil Johnson 5k Series (Race 2)

Getting There

Leaving East Hull around 5 to go across the city to go is never the best idea but the journey to the race should only take 45 minutes and it was due to start at 7 so you would think it would be plenty of time, wouldn’t it? However the old rocker himself Rod Stewart was playing the KC stadium but the bigger issue was the closure of the Humber Bridge due to a to a accident earlier. It started so well leaving at 5 I arrived at Kingston retail park by twenty past for my usual stop of coffee and cake. However it was then that getting back onto the  A63 I realised something was amiss. Checking on Facebook (while stationary I hasten to add) there was messages about the Humber Bridge being closed, it was re-opened again but the knock on effect left lots of stationary traffic. At least I had some substances while it took the 45 minutes to get from English Street to

The race

Phil Johnson 5k (race 2)
Just coming into the finish of race 2 of the Phil Johnson 5k series

Just like the Otley 10 I’d record the race but not look at it until closer to the end. After a short briefing we as off, possibly even a couple of minutes early. There was a lead  group with club mates Robert Weekes and Steve Davey  and unlike the previous I’d try to keep closer order. Although I didn’t hold on for that long it did result in a 5.42 first mile (possible my fastest ever during a race).

By this point we had a good pack of runners and I was shielded  behind 2 Barton runners. Just before the 2 miles point (completed in  5.59) we was joined by City of Hulls Sophie Lee, it now felt like the place was slowing  and I wanted to kick on. I think Sophie at the same thought as she picked up the pace. I tried to go with her but I wasn’t strong enough. However  it did result in a final mile of 5:56 and the final 0.1 mi increasing to a pace of 5:29 for a 00:18:19 PB and 16th place and a new PB. As part of some big miles it’s a very pleasing result.

Hats off to my club mates Robert Weekes finishing 4th in 16:29 and Steve Davey finishing 8th in 00:17:10.

 

Otley 10

Otley 10 2016 - Start

I ended up doing the Otley 10 as I was looking for a fairly local 10 miler. At the time the Gilberdyke 10 had not been announced and the closest I could find was the Otley 10.

As it turned out on race day I’d be working in Liverpool. At the time this seemed like a good thing (more on that later) as I could come back home via Otley from Liverpool. However it would  mean being at the Liverpool I.T. head office for 9am (so I could leave by 3.30pm). That meant making sure all kit, food etc. was sorted the night before and  alarm set for 5.30am. As it turns out I was up with the birds from around 4.10am eventually giving up and getting up at 5am. The positive side of this I was on the road by 5.30am arriving in Liverpool after a fairly pain free  journey just after 8am.

Fast forward 7 and half hours to start the journey east to Otley. I had 4 hours to travel the 75 miles, surely that would be ample time? I was even hopeful  that I’d have time to try and have a quick nap in the car. As the saying goes “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” ….. I never factored in the 1 and half hours to travel 20/30 miles along the M60. In the end I arrived (admittedly after a coffee and cake stop) in Otley just before 6.30pm.

Warm Up

After a quick change and a look around the HQ (Otley Cricket Club), it was time to get into “race mode”, that meant some dynamic stretches and a 1 to 2 mile warm up. I wasn’t expecting anybody from Hull therefore I was a little surprised when I heard my name being shouted. It won’t come as surprise to many that the originator of the shout was none other than serial racer Rich Harrison (KUHAC).  After finishing my warm up I was able to catch up with him back at the HQ. Also there was another regular racer (now of York Knavesmire Harriers) Stephen Maddison. It was good to see some familiar faces and have somebody to chat to while walking to the start, which was approximately 10 minutes walk away.

Race Time

Otley 10 2016
Racing to get into position at the start of the Otley 10 2016

The Otley 10 doubles up as the Yorkshire 10-Mile Championship therefore I expected some fast times at the pointy end and it was best not to get too carried away with those at the front. Having said that although the start is just off the main road up a slight incline, the route quickly turned left onto the rough track at the side of a busy A road. For that reason it would be a good idea to be quick out of the blocks to ensure a good position once we made the the turn and to avoid being stuck behind slower moving track.

Having checked the course profile briefly (only after Steve Taylor mentioned it might be hilly – it had not occurred to me prior to signing up!), I knew there was too nasty climbs but not entirely sure when. Therefore due to my inability to run uphill with any kind of pace the pre-race plan would be to run as hard as possible (shouldn’t it always be…) and probably crawl up the inclines. Also I decided that I’d record the run but not look at my watch.

Otley 10 Course Profile
The two hills as part of the Otley 10 course
Otley 10 around 3 miles
Looking strong before the hills started

Back to the race and after the initial first left we hugged the left hand side of the busy A659 (Pool Road) for the next 2 miles before thankfully a left over the stunning River Wharfe onto a marginally quieter country road. It wasn’t long before another left turn onto the much rougher but very welcome leathley Lane. The first 3 miles in a fairly decent 19 minutes, not that I knew this at the time. At this point I was wondering where the first incline was as I had expected it by now.

The stunning River Wharfe
The stunning River Wharfe

However I didn’t have long to wait, the inline starts from 3 to 4 miles (slowing to a 6:44 mile) but the real kicker is from mile 4 to 5 and half (you know you’re in trouble when you see a sign that says 16%). At points I was well over 10 minute mile pace. One positive was the glorious view we was rewarded with at the highest point in the race  (just a shame about some very impatient drivers – overtaking in some very dangerous places).

Otley 10 - Second Water Station
Not looking as fresh at the second water station

As the saying goes “what goes up must come down” and for the next mile we can free fall and get back some of the time lost. Around 6.5 miles the second water station was a welcome site before another steep  incline. Again though the reward would be a great view and a mile long descent, probably my favourite part of the race (and fastest mile 5:55) with a group of 4 of us all strung out flying down back into Otley.

The final mile seemed like a real slog with a tricky couple of 90 degree turns before we came back onto the path along the main street through Otley. I would recommend making yourself aware of the route to the finish as I made a school boy error. I could see the ASDA and cricket club which I thought would lead to the finish therefore I started to pick up the pace aware that there was a runner not too far behind, however we went past the entrance to the cricket club before a left turn afterwards and then around the field (similar to Walkington 10k) to the finish. After my false kick this time I made sure I saved a little and didn’t kick too soon to make sure the runner just behind stayed there. Happy with 67:18 for 42nd place out of 367 place. Excellent runs by Stephen Maddison (16th in 62:55) and Rich Harrison (137th in 77:40 ).

Each runner received a fine bottle of Ale (it was a blonde which isn’t my favourite so the welcome recipient was my wife) plus with the cricket club bar and a BBQ outside what more could you want.

 

 

 

 

 

Woodhall Spa 10k

MIke p, Me, Danny W at Woodhall Spa 10k 2016

After Tuesday’s sufferfest at the Leven 10k, I was hoping for redemption at Woodhall Spa 10k. I gave myself a few goals just to make sure I could be flexible come race time.

  • Sub 40
  • Sub 39
  • Sub 38
  • Dreamland would be a new PB

The last two were probably overly optimistic and I would have only been marginally happy with a sub 40. I really wanted 38 something and preferably the lower end but I’d have to see how I’d recovered.

Pre race day and training was getting back to normal, I scrapped Thursday hard session in a bid to be fully recovered for this race. Post runs I was still coughing but overall much better than Monday/Tuesday. One thing I did get enough of was sleep, Saturday night pre-race I was falling asleep pre 9 o’clock therefore asleep well before half past and waking up at around 5.30am. This isn’t that unusual for me although I normally go to be closer to 10pm.

Race day – pre race

Running gear was set up the night before therefore race day was the usual pint of water and porridge with berries and some sunflower seeds (and probably a little honey). The race wasn’t until 11:15am but we did need to travel the 1 and half hours to get to Woodhall Spa. Steve T was picking me up at 8:20am and then two others (Danny W and Mike P) making 4 from our club in Steve’s car. Thanks as ever for Steve who is one of my regular chauffeurs!

Warm Up

After parking up and a short walk to the park and caravan park it was a case of using the facilities and then waiting to warm up. It was still only 10:15am therefore I wanted to wait 20 to 25 minutes. Conveniently next to the toilets was a cricket ground and I was able to do laps of the field for a 2 mile warm up inc. a few drills and dynamic stretches (a proper warm up routine is something I need to work on).

Sufficiently warmed up it there was a short walk to the start. Out of the 4 of us, 3 would be going for around the 38:30 mark. I didn’t want to start to rapid considering the recent week therefore I was happy to let the others set the pace and just drop in behind (in hindsight was that ever going to happen!).

The first mile took us out to Reeds Beck before the first left turn, the three of us plus several others covered that in a decent 6.04. Ideally I’d keep this pace for the full race but with the greatest will in the world this seemed unlikely.

The second mile skirts Halstead Wood with a minor right curve. We were still on pace with a 6.08, however I could sense Mike P (and possibly Danny W) was struggling and the group was starting to splinter. Rather than sit in I made the decision to try and go with the group ahead (so much for going with the flow!). At this point I dropped Mike P and I thought Danny W. However after less than half a mile Danny was back and we ran for the majority of the race.

At 2.5 miles another left turn at to go past Stixwould Wood and on into Stixwould proper with the third mile dropping to 6:12 – not too bad but ideally I wouldn’t let it drop any further.

38:51 - Woodhall Spa 10k 2016
Sprint finish for 38:51 at the Woodhall Spa 10k 2016

However I obviously wasn’t fully fit (the post run coughing fit would be testament to that) and miles 4 and 5 were 6:23 and 6:26 – there is no way I’m not strong enough to maintain a better pace than that. The recent Summer League races with the exception of Leven prove that. At the 4 mile mark we passed   Stixwould  before another left turn to start heading back to Woodhall Spa.

It was at 5 miles when Danny started to pull away, this is normally when I can put a fast final mile in but today the legs just wasn’t responding. A final right turn around 5.25 miles leads us back to the park. Pace for mile 6 was 6:31. I did at least manage a final sprint for the line averaging 5:35 for the final 0.2 miles. It helped that the finish is just inside the caravan park with all the spectators.

Overall happy with 38:51 for 57th place out of just over a 1000 runners. Impeccable organisation and it helped that we had a gorgeous sunny day.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer League Race 4 – Leven 10k

With a 10k PB of 37:35 set on this course last year and decent results set at the previous 3 races I had high expectations for this race. However the story of this race starts 4 days prior.

A lesson in listening to your body

On the Saturday prior I had a tough session planned, 13 miles with 8 progressive (inc 3 at Parkrun). The day before I did seem to be developing a bit of a cough but didn’t think too much of it. Saturdays run started well with a good 3 mile warm up followed by the main part of session starting at 7:20 per mile and taking 10 seconds off per mile for 8 miles. For the main part regular training partner Danny Wilson had joined me.

The first 5 miles were pretty close to the required pace if not just a tiny fraction fact. However the final 3 miles was worked out to coincide with parkrun therefore after a short rest we forgot about pace and just went for it. I should be able to do sub 6:30 fairly comfortably but after the initial 6.11 I dropped off to 6,21 then 6.44. The slowest of the 3 coming last when I should have been going at my fastest. I just assumed that I was a little fatigued from the week and therefore didn’t think too much of it  – maybe the post run coughing fit should have been a clue!

Roll on Sunday the plan was 12 mile LSR with one eye on this race (Leven 10k) the following Tuesday. My legs did seem awfully tired but I assumed this was due to the previous days hard session. I’d just shuffle round and get the miles in. However after just 2/3 miles I knew something wasn’t right. By mile 4 I was barely under 9 minute miling when normally for long runs I’d be in the range of 7:30 to 8:00. I decided to call it a day and head home but of course the quickest way home meant running therefore I ended up doing 6.8miles instead of the 12.

By the end of Sunday the cough had developed considerably and only two days before one of my races of the year. On Monday I dropped the easy 8 in an effort to recover before Tuesday.

Race Day

On Tuesday it was clear that I still wasn’t right. Of course us runners are not can be a little stubborn and I decided that I’d run anyway and just try and get a half decent time (partly because for various reasons I haven’t run a 10k this year). Based on the recent 4 and 5 miler fully fit I’d expect somewhere around 38:30. Surely I could at least break 40?

The forecast also wasn’t being my friend with winds expected to be well into double figures, most people agreed this would be for the first 3 miles, at which point we turn around and head back to Leven. On the plus side it wasn’t cold.

The 1.8 /mi warm up didn’t feel too bad – maybe the legs didn’t feel as zippy as I’d have liked but nothing too untoward (apart from the cough after stopping!).

Onto the race and after a very short wait we was off. First mile passing in a fairly rapid 6:10, maybe a little fast considering the wind however originally I would have hoped to average close to 6 minute miling. The usual group was around and although nobody put their foot down I started to go out the back door. After a mile and half  you reach Brandesburton and the first left turn I was on my own and struggling.

The next mile and half takes you towards Burshill and although its a slight incline and with the wind, none of that would have woudl justify the drop off in pace. After mile 1 the next two were completed in 6:30 and 6:43.

I still clung onto the hope that once we made the next left turn and started back for Leven I’d be able to claw back something from somewhere. Alas even with a slight downhill and the better of the wind I could only bring it back to 6:30. Any determination and energy was long since gone. By this point I was willing it to be over. Around 4 miles I was passed by a couple of runners I’d normally comfortably beat these days. Miles 5 and 6 passed in a agonisingly slow 6:42 and 6:44.

I finally finished in 40:47 for 35th place (over 10 places higher than normal in what was a lower turnout than normal). It was however a seasons best therefore at least I’d have something to beat 5 days later at Woodhall Spa 10k.

 

Summer League Race 3 – East Park 4

EHH Summer League 3 (East Park 4 miles)

Race 3 of the Summer League and one of my favourites of the series. Partly because I’ve ran pretty well the two times I’ve done this race and it’s nice and short!  Last year was particularly good and still the only race where I’ve finished the race averaging under 6 minute miling. My times from the last two years are as follows:

  • 2015 -23:41
  • 2014 – 24:16
EHH Summer League 3 (East Park 4 miles)
EHH Summer League 3 (East Park 4 miles) – 18th out 217 in 24:13

I didn’t think I was in quite the same form as last year but still would have liked a very low 24 or ideally sub 24. For this reason at the start line I spied who was about, seeing Ian Grewer and Stephen Rennie were on the start line I decided they would me a good couple of runners to stick with as I know both often come past me in the first couple of miles therefore they start steadier but maintain the pace better. However onto the race and we did start steadier (or at least I thought we had!) but the first mile was still covered in a fairly swift 5:51 – about 6 seconds down on last year.

After the first loop of the left hand side of the park (the side mainly without the lake) we then start the first of the two loops around the lake and animal enclosure that will be very familiar to anybody that does East Park parkrun. At this point we still had a good group of myself, Danny Wilson, Paul Bennett, Ian Grewer, Stephen Rennie and a lad from Bridlington RR (Mark Woodley). After a mile and half we picked up the even faster starting Lee Alcock. At this point the group started to splinter as on the back straight past the lake Stephen Rennie pushed the pace (or we started to slow). Ideally I would have liked to have followed but it felt like I was running through treacle.

The first 2 miles was covered in  a decent 11:51. If I could just run close to 6 minute miling then I’d still stand a chance of around 24:00.

I always find the top section past the animal enclosures difficult and this year was no different. At this point I think Ian Grewer and Paul Bennett started to go away, at the same time I think I started to gap Lee Alcock and Danny Wilson.

Onto the final loop (second around the lake) and I have a significant gap on Lee and I’m still with striking distances of Paul and Ian. Just after 3 miles we pick up Eddie Rex and I try to encourage him to push on with me to keep Paul and Ian in check. We both share the lead pushing each other to keep going. Around the bend before passing the animal enclosure I have a cheeky look for Lee as I can no longer hear him. The gap looks significant and rather stupidly I think I may have the beating of him for once.

However I should know better and in the last half a mile Lee catches and passes me. I let the gap grow too much but I do put on an almighty sprint finish to catch and pass both Ian and Paul as you can see from the graph below:

ScreenHunter_1041 May. 20 15.03

My official time was 24:13 for 18th place out of 217 runners. At the time I was a little disappointed and in hindsight I am pleased with how consistent I have been but not happy that I lost so much time in the last 2 miles. However a 6am start (and awake at 4am) to drive to Liverpool and back in the same day before racing woudln’t have helped. Next year I have to nail that 3rd mile, for comparison here is the last two years:

2015 2016
5:45 /mi 5:51 /mi
5:56 /mi 5:58 /mi
6:11 /mi 6:14 /mi
6:00 /mi 6:08 /mi

The question is next year do I take the first mile even slower or trust that I can hang on better? A little break before my next race which is the Summer League again, this time Leven 10k which is my current 10k PB of 37:35 – the aim will be to go under 38 as I’ve only done it this once. In the meantime is back to back 70+ mile weeks.

Phil Johnson 5k Series (Race 1)

Phil Johnson 5k

The Phil Johnson 5k Series is of 4 races run by Barton & District AC in Barrow with three 5k’s over the summer and a mile race in September. The inaugural (single) race was held last year to celebrate the life of local athlete Phil Johnson.

After a gloriously sunny weekend I was hoping that would last until the race on Tuesday evening, alas it was not to be. The rain started around lunchtime and the drizzle lasted until race time and beyond. However it was still warm enough for just vest and shorts but unfortunately no shades and a little moist underfoot. Also there was just enough wind that due to the nature of the course I knew at some point we would be dealing with a head wind.

However before getting onto the race there was the small matter of getting there. I live East Hull and the race was in Barrow, which is the other side of the The Humber River . I was working at home therefore the plan was to leave home at 4 to get a bus into the city centre. Then another bus from the city centre that would get me to Barton-on-Humber in time to get the train from Barton-on-Humber to Barrow upon Humber at 5.55pm. The bus was supposed to arrive with 5 minutes to spare, however I didn’t factor in the traffic getting out of Hull. In the end I had to get a taxi the 5 minutes down the road and then got in somebody else’s taxi!

Onto the race, after a good short briefing (mainly to warn people about headphones) the race begins at the Haven Inn at Barrow on Humber and goes away from The Humber River. I was penned in slightly by slower runners before finding some space. One group had already gone away and I found myself in the second group as I invariably do.  After a quarter of a mile we make the first left turn onto West Hann Lane. At this point there was approx. 6 of us and I would have been happy to stay in that group except the pace was a little off what I wanted plus there was a lady a little  bit ahead who seemed to be running a good pace. Nobody seemed to be making a move therefore I pushed on to close the gap, most of the group came with me.

Phil Johnson 5k - Race 1
Phil Johnson 5k – Race 1

The course along this stretch is flat but does have a couple of rises which changes your stride pattern slightly particularly if like me you can’t run uphill to save your life! At some point between miles 1 and 2 I had gapped the rest of the group except one athlete (Adam Weekes) who came with me.

The two of us made the second left onto New Holland Road with me doing most of the pacing at this point. As suspected at some point we were going to hit a windy section and this mile was my slowest and I assume the main reason was the wind.

Onto mile 3 and we made the penultimate left turn for the short section on Lincoln Castle Way before making the final left turn onto Marsh Lane for the run for home. I was flagging at this point and Adam was pushing the pace on. I resolved to keep him close enough and hope that I could outsprint him closer to the finish. For me this final section does seem to go on for along time. I think one of the reasons is you can see the finish from so far away. Eventually with about 200m to 300m to go I gave it everything to hit sub 5 min mi pace and pass Adam just before the finish.

I finished 11th out of 63 competitors.  However it’s not a very deep field therefore the main thing was to get close to 6 minute miling which I pretty much did therefore happy overall.  The next race in the series is June 14th when I hope to finally break 18:30 for 5k . Also hopefully there will be a few more competitors at my sort of pace.

For comparison here is last years and this years splits. I don’t think I can learn that much from the differences. The wind direction was different last year to this. The main thing is next time I need to run even splits for the entire race even if the first mile is quicker. A fast first mile followed by 6 minute miles will bring me what I want.

2015 2016 – Race 1
5:57 /mi 5:51 /mi
6:09 /mi 6:02 /mi
6:03 /mi 6:09 /mi
5:04 /mi 6:03 /mi

Summer League Race 2 – Sproatley 6

EHH Summer League 2 (Sproatley 6 miles)
EHH Summer League 2 (Sproatley 6 miles) – 37:30, 23rd out of 218

Race 2 in the EHH Summer League Series is the first of two races to start at Sproatley. This year I wouldn’t be doing the second race  as the Phil Johnson 5k series clashes with the Sproatley 7. And I’d prefer to do the 5k as that’s a standard distance. Likewise I’ll be missing the Skirlaugh 8 to do the Doncaster Open 5k.

Anyway back to topic and for some reason the Sproatley 6 is one of my bogey races where I never hit the paces that I can in other races. Partly I think this is the course and there is always seems to be some wind but also I’ve often done a race a couple of days before plus a marathon in the proceeding month. The times to beat were as follows:

  • 2015 – 00:37:30
  • 2016 – 00:37:44

This year I’d have no excuses of half marathons or marathons. Surely I could sneak under 37 if nothing else?

Onto the race and the usual quick first mile (5:45), it starts with a slight downhill and combined with the fast lads plus the initial race adrenaline it’s hard not to fly out the blocks. The usual group goes away and unlike the last race I found myself on my own. I decided to “run” with it (pun intended). It wasn’t too long, probably in the second mile when a group including the City of Hulls legendary Steve Rennie, Carla Stansfield and my clubs Eddie Rex. I tried to stick with them but to be honest even before the race I wasn’t feeling great. They gapped me fairly quickly and once again I was left running on my own with a few EHH lads not too far behind.

Around  2 to 3 miles my clubmate and adversary Lee Alcock caught me, the benefit is we could share the workload. However I was more concerned in keeping my average pace under 6:10 therefore I kept surging which Lee commented on post run. It would be better to run more consistently but no matter what I couldn’t maintain pace.

The last two miles is mostly in one direction and as usual I find this section a drag. There always seems to be wind on this section not helping me maintain target pace.

Finally the great downhill start means a uphill finish, around 5 to 5.5 miles Lee left me and finished just ahead.

Once again I missed sub 37, finishing in 37:20 for 23rd place out of 218. However it was my fastest time on this course so that is at least something. For the record I have gone well under 37 on  a different course at last years Champagne League at Kiplingcoates finishing in 36:24. Oh well there’s always next year 🙂

 

 

 

Summer League Race 1 – New Ellerby 5

New Ellerby 5 2016

My running club’s Summer League serious is some of my favourite races. In particular the standard distances of 10k, 5 mile plus the East Park 4 mile ( not so much the Hedon 4 as the wind can be leg sapping at that race). The first race is the New Ellerby 5 – a fast flat rolling countryside route. I was looking forward to this one but nervous as ever.

This was due to an indifferent start to the year and a marginally disappointing Vale Of York 10 just 2 days earlier therefore I wasn’t sure what to expect. Last year I had ran 30:11 and in an ideal world I’d love to have gone sub 30. The ultimate aim for all races is to go sub 6 minute per mile average for all races up to half marathon (which I’ve only done once at East Park 4 in 2015) but with the greatest optimism in the world I’m nowhere near that and for this race I didn’t think I was any where near 6 minute miling.

Onto the race and we were fortunate to have glorious weather, nice and sunny but cool enough for some decent running. For once I didn’t go off like a train, due to being unsure of my form I let a few people I normally stick with go. The first mile was still covered in 5:58 but lots of summer league races the first mile is covered 10 to 20 seconds faster. For example in 2015 the first mile was 5:43. I also decided to not use my watch and just run on feel, something which I often do(I’d still record it but change the display to a menu screen and turn off alerts).

As the race progressed a good group of EHH runners came together, myself, Lee Alcock, Danny Wilson, Chris Hodgson, Mike Petersen and also a Beverley AC runner. Unsure of my form I decided to sit at the back and just follow any moves. The group mainly stayed together with just Mike being dropped somewhere between 2 and 3 miles.

After 3 miles Lee made a move to breakaway which I tracked allowing him to take the lead. Chris came with us just a little way behind. The 3 of us was working hard almost in single file. We had dropped the Beverley AC runner and Danny.

Coming into the finish Lee had a couple of metres gap and Chris was approximately 1 metre behind me. I should know better than to let Lee have any kind of gap as he comfortably beat me to the finish. More of a disappointment is to be out sprinted by Chris. However I finished in 30:27 for 23rd place out of 235 runners, just 13 seconds slower than 2015 when I had been marathon training.  This year though I feel my race was much better paced, for comparison here is the splits from 2016 and 2015:

2016 2015
5:58 /mi 5:43 /mi
6:09 /mi 6:01 /mi
6:07 /mi 6:09 /mi
6:06 /mi 6:11 /mi
6:01 /mi 6:10 /mi

Considering the indifferent start to the year I was ecstatic by this result and return to form. Now I just need to find that elusive sub 6.

My wife was also running and finished in 40:43, like me she was happy with her time which is pretty consistent with races of this distance.

 

 

 

Vale of York 10 – 17th April 2016

Vale of York 10 2016

In the quest for a better 10 mile PB the next stop was the inaugural Vale of York 10. Thanks to Guy Gibson for bringing this race to my attention and also for chauffeur duties on race day.

The race started at an airfield (Gliding Centre) and this brings some very good benefits:

  1. Ample parking for all spectators.
  2. Plenty of space for Portaloos (and after picking up our numbers we didn’t have to wait too long).
  3. Easy to find somewhere to warm up which I did after previous portaloo stop. Guy on the other hand did the tried and tested “static” warm up.

My training into the leadup had been curtailed slightly, firstly due to our vacation (although I still did 50+ miles over 12 days), however the main issue was falling ill on our return. The positive spin on this is hopefully I’d be fresher come race day due to the reduction in volume.

On to the race and after a slightly delayed start we were off. The start was slightly odd as it’s on the runway and to make sure we complete the right distance it goes a good half a mile before a 180 turn and back past the way you started.

Once out onto the roads proper the race takes in the some very quiet country roads (you benefit from completely closed roads). As promised it was very flat with only a couple of very minor “inclines”.

The course only goes through a couple of villages called Healaugh and Catterton. This for me was the only downside with a distinct lack of spectators out on the course. This might grow as the race does but with its location I can’t see it.

Vale of York 10 2016
Vale of York 10 2016

Back to my race and after the week just gone I didn’t want to push it therefore pre-race I decided to stick with 6.30 pace for the majority of the race and sneak under 65 minutes. This worked well for the first 6 miles which felt very comfortable. However, it’s funny how quickly a race can change, from “coasting” along, the next two miles were under target at 6.38 pace. No matter what I couldn’t up the pace, my legs felt like they had no power. I can only assume it was down to still recovering from the previous week.

The last two miles were back under target pace (6.28 /mi) but by then the damage had been done. I needed to run much faster for the last two miles. I finished outside 65 minutes in 65:13 and only 4 seconds off a PB.

As an aside, 2 days later I ran the summer league 5 mile in 30.27 averaging approx. 6.05 /mi giving me confidence that adequately recovered I can run well under 65 for 10 miles. Maybe I just need a summer league 10 miler and a load of red vests to chase for a better time (how about it Pete Dearing!?).

Next up on June 8th is the Otley 10 miles which is a low key affair with only about 60 runners. As it’s an evening race I’m hoping I can replicate Tuesday night form when I seem to run my best times. If not then I’ve heard about a potential local 10 miler near Gilberdyke at the end of August that will probably be another bite of the cherry.

Guy Gibson – Vale of York 10 2016
Guy Gibson – Vale of York 10 2016

Back to the Vale of York, Guy Gibson is a consistent performer finishing in 1:14:32 for 165th. A time which he was very happy with.

If you’re looking for a flat fast early road season 10 miler then the Vale of York 10 comes highly recommend. It doesn’t have the hills of Ferriby and if it’s a still day like we had then much less windy than Snake Lane 10. I can see plenty of people setting a PB on the Vale of York 10 course. Also, there’s even some decent prize money for those that are fast enough.