Andy Harrison reflects on his run around North Yorkshire. (Sunday, 23rd March 2014)
I like 10 mile races, it’s a good distance for me. It’s long enough to mask the lack of speed I have at 5 and 10k and just short enough to stop me losing interest and focus. For the record my attention span is one hour, at much past that I generally start thinking either “I’m sick of this when’s it going to stop” or “I wonder what’s for me tea?” and the race plan goes out the window. But there aren’t too many 10 mile races around Tyne and Wear so it was back in the car for a trip down to Thirsk again for this one. A quick scan of the 800 or so entries at the start and I was the only TBH vest there, which meant two things 1) I was fairly confident of being first TBH home, and b) I’d have to write the race report. So here goes.
I entered this race last year and enjoyed it despite what can only be described as tundra like conditions with a howling arctic wind and nearly zero temperatures. Dave Daniels ran in hat, coat, gloves, trousers and a scarf if I remember rightly. The course is a fairly flat loop from Thirsk racecourse, it’s on open roads but since there seems to be bugger all to do in this part of East Riding on a Sunday morning it may as well have been closed roads. The conditions this year were pretty good with a stiff-ish breeze and sunny skies.
So, I had reasonable hopes of a good run and was hoping for under 62 minutes. The race plan was to get to 10k in under 38 minutes and manage the decline from there, it was a little ambitious maybe as my 10k pb is just over 38 minutes, but what the hell. The off was 11 o’clock sharp and after a bit of jostling and a last minute laces emergency I tucked in behind a group doing around 6 minute mile to get a little shelter from the head wind (it was a head breeze really), the group also included Paul Brown and Vicky Gibbs from Wallsend who had a good team out. I have a habit of clock watching when running so I tried to just settle into the run and not think about the pace too much at the beginning and by way of distraction was helped this time by the runner behind me emptying the contents of his nostrils down my right calf early on. Pleasantries were exchanged with said runner and he apologised profusely. I’m surprised there aren’t more hockle related incidents when running in packs, and pondered this over the first few miles.
We clocked the first 3 miles in 18 minutes or so. Safari, so goody as the Biggins would say. At this point the course turns back on itself and with the wind behind us I managed to maintain the pace through miles 4 and 5 and as 10k ticked over was just under 38 minutes. Right on plan. Unfortunately the second part of the race also went to plan and I had a decline to manage. The route bears left up a country lane for a mile or so then back down to the main road into Thirsk. In a cycle race this bit of the course might be described as a false flat, an imperceptible climb, and back into the wind too, which is just enough to take the edge off tired legs. My pace dropped, so a quick reset of my target to stay at 6:20 max pace for the last 3 miles, which I just about managed also holding my position over the last couple of miles.
I finished in 61:40. A pb, not a huge one, but as a wise man once told me ‘you can’t buy them so be grateful when you get one’. So I’m happy with the run, although since I wasn’t on my hands and knees at the end I think I must have more in me somewhere.
Like the Brass Monkey, this one is a bit of trek but well marshalled, a good route and one I’d recommend. Only downsides were this year’s t-shirt being a bit rubbish and the fact we had to wait until the last runner had finished to get out of the car park, which was quite a wait. Although this did mean we got to witness a biblical hailstorm with balls the size of marrowfat peas bouncing a foot off the ground. You see, if this race had been longer than an hour I might have had to run in that, and that would have hacked* me right off.
Wallsend 5k next week, for my least favourite distance, nee chance of a PB but at least there’ll be plenty of people to write the race report. See you there.
*edited to spare the blushes of younger readers – DD