I’ve a great affinity with this race as it’s the scene of my 10k PB (34:43 in 2010) and I seem to perform well every time I compete. (writes David Daniels).
Conditions were ideal for running. It was cool, dry and although there was a fairly strong westerly wind blowing across the region, the nature of the 2 lap course around the streets of Darlington meant runners had plenty of shelter throughout the race. In fact, the only hindrance during the race came from a fellow competitor.
Running alongside Stephen Barker and John Hurse for the first two miles, my race strategy of running at six-minute miling (or slightly quicker) was going perfectly. The 1st mile passed in 5:48, mile 2 was completed in 5:52 and my target of 37 minutes looked well within my grasp. I was feeling relaxed, enjoying the occasion and remembering how great it feels when everything seems to come together during a race. But then it all went skew whiff. Having just passed the 2 mile marker and comfortably running along the road, suddenly some guy cuts right across me, causing me to halt my stride and almost come to a complete stop.
I didn’t lose it completely – but came very close – and started gesturing with my arms. But with the guy still in front of me – totally oblivious to what he’d done – it was time for a more attacking move and I side-stepped onto the pavement and then accelerated as if it was the start of the 100 metres. The mist was red and the blood boiling.
The next two miles were both ran in 5:42 and my heart-rate was off the scale. Luckily the second climb of the race came at exactly the right moment as it forced me to ease the pace and gather my thoughts. If I wanted to finish the race without the risk of running out of steam then I’d have to resume running at a more sensible pace, and averaged 5:51’s for the final two miles.
Entering the town’s main square for the final run-in to the finishing line, I glanced at the race clock which was rapidly ticking towards the 36:00 minutes mark. With every remaining last ounce of energy I sprinted the final 100 metres in the hope of dipping under 36 minutes but unfortunately it wasn’t to be, and as I crossed the timing mats the clock showed 36:11 in big yellow digits. But far from being disappointed I was actually elated. Not only had I bettered my original target by almost a minute, I’d also shown that my next target of sub 36 was well within me, hopefully leading to a sub 35 in 2014. (As it turns out, my finishing time was eventually put down as 36:00 thanks to the race being chip timed).
Pleased as I was with my own run, I was equally delighted for Shaun Brown who was also competing in the race. Setting off with the front runners, Shaun managed to beat his previous 10k PB by nearly 40 seconds, recording a fantastic time of 34:33.
So, to sum up, the Darlington 10k continues to be a firm favourite of mine and – health permitting – I’ll definitely be back again next year. Only next time I may get someone to cut me up inside the first mile to provoke me to run like a demon for the entire race.
Congratulations to race winner Wondiye Fikre Indelbu (30:10), Alyson Dixon (Sunderland Strollers) for winning the ladies race (34:06) and to John Hurse for also recording a 10k PB.
Provisional results (chip times):
Shaun Brown: 34’33
John Hurse: 37’44
Stephen Barker: 37’49
Jon Moss: 41’33
Nick Pearson: 42’24
Full results can be found here.