NEAL 2012 – Meeting 1 Monkton Stadium 25-4-12
The ducks on the infield were about the only ones that enjoyed the conditions at the first of the North East Athletics League meet this year, and I seriously hope this was the wettest 10K I ever have to run.
I had entered the 10,000 which started at 6:15, so Louis and I left Newcastle just after 5:00 thinking there would be plenty of time to get there. The traffic across OUR bridge however, seemed to indicate otherwise. Luckily Louis had a modern Jazz compilation to calm my nerves (I’d even rate DD’s driving music selection higher than that effort!!) so by the time we got to the stadium at about 6:05, I had a forehead vein that looked like an embolism was about to erupt, and was not in the best frame of mind for a long track race. Anyhow, the torrential rain we had driven through had subsided into a down pour, and I got out and went to register. Luckily our other volunteer on the registration desk (DD) had got through the tunnel a bit earlier, so was there eager and ready to register people solo until Louis could join him.
I got my number and was disappointed to see that the other runners had mostly made it, so that last place was firmly within my grasp. It’s a bit of a shame that this event wasn’t better attended with only 5 entries (only 1 no show), as it’s only 25 laps in horrendous conditions and what could be more appealing than that on a wet Wednesday night ?
Anyhow, the start list was a little worrying with Peter Newton and Michael Dawson from Morpeth who I knew could take about 4 minute out of me over 10k on the roads even if I ran really well, Ian Robinson from Heaton whose Power of 10 profile showed he could take a minute or so out of me and Rob Hand from Durham who I managed to beat at the Vets XC earlier in the year, but he beat me at Prudhoe.
The basic plan was to hang on to Ian and Rob for as long as I could and just keep a steady rhythm going after that to try to get under 36 minutes for a PB. We left it until the very last minute to line up as the wind had picked up to gale force and the rain was now travelling horizontally, the gun went and we were off. The Morpeth lads, as expected took a very early lead, and Ian seemed happy enough leading our group of 3 so we settled into a pace that was spot on for my target just waiting for the Morpeth crew to come past. It was all pretty uneventful up to about 15 laps, Peter caught us first, closely followed by Michael and we kept up a consistent pace. Ian decided to give a bit of a push on lap 16, Rob went with him and I decided against it, hoping they’d made a mistake and would come back to me late on. Ian pushed again a few laps later and Rob dropped off, so I started to aim at catching Rob. I was closing the gap with about 3 laps to go, but just couldn’t seem to do it. When the bell went, the time keeper told me I was on 34:35 so all I had to do was an 85second last lap to hit my target. I gave it a last push, and with Kenny shouting “go for PB time” along the home straight my final time was 35:55, whoohoo!!! That’s 1:25 off my 10,000 PB, 1:15 faster than I ran 10K last year and 12 seconds off my best every 10K pb. My mile splits were all within 5 seconds of each other, so I was pleased with my decision to ignore the others and just run my own race.
Next it was the turn of the younger Mac to step up to the mark in a seeded 1500m race, and he ran a gallant race to record a 5:38 PB. The rain had settled into bucketing down at this point with a fresh blustery gale in tow. This was closely followed by the recently altitude trained Sparrow Morley who also recorded a PB for 1500 in his seeded race of 4:20 and then not to be outdone by anyone Mac senior decided to post the final PB of the night in his seeded 1500 of 4:32
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and hope to see a few more TBH vests next time, but do bear in mind we had really good representation by way of providing officials. Louis and DD provided help on the registration desk (a condition for each club entered into the league to do at one fixture) and we also had our very own Rob Wishart taking his first steps towards becoming a qualified official, as he shadowed and assisted the officials all evening. I think one thing that the conditions really brought home to me is that without the officials, marshalls, track judges, starters, referees etc. who are prepared to work in some appalling conditions then these events can’t take place. I was able to get a shower something to eat then stand under shelter after my 35 minutes effort in the rain. They were there all evening!! I know who think deserve the medals on that night.