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.
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.
2016 - Race 1