With possibly the quickest ever turn-around from race finish to race report Edwin Wong recall’s this morning’s Blyth Valley 10K Road Race (Sunday, 6th April, 2014).
Blyth Valley 10k race report
For me, entering the Blyth 10k was at short notice, making a snap decision following a few ‘encouraging’ messages between myself, Keith Rooney and Nick Pearson. The sub-40 min 10k was the target, and with the improvements being made amongst our little posse on the fringe of group 2, this was surely going to be a matter of when – but was Blyth going to be the day?
For me, my ‘big’ race in this first half of 2014 is the Edinburgh Marathon, and trying to keep to a strict training plan whilst faced with the numerous opportunities to race has been difficult of late. So having decided to race in Blyth, long run day was on Friday, track session on Saturday before race day on Sunday. For others, Blyth was hopefully going to be a hunting ground for personal best times, return to injury racing and 10k debuts! My car on the Sunday morning was filled with all of the above as well as some exceptional roadside support.
As we arrived into the start area, it was clear that Tyne Bridge Harriers were going to be well represented. I was not surprised to see Sparrow Morley and James Dunce having already spotted them on a street corner in Heaton just 40 min earlier – we had correctly presumed that they were waiting for a lift from someone! Then in the lead up to the race the black and white vests just kept pouring into the start area with good representation from all training groups, which is always impressive to see.
As 10am approached, the racing crowd settled down at the start line and we away very punctually on the ‘fast and flat’ route out towards Seaton Sluice through the sand dunes. Unsurprisingly, Sparrow and James were our leading runners and nowhere to be seen as far as I was concerned. As we moved onto the coastal path, my line of sight extended as far as the likes of David Young, Alex Lockwood (in his first race in 7 months) and Nick Pearson. A certain Keith Rooney was already long gone into the distance.
The other aspect of racing is of course the support, and as usual the support from Tyne Bridge was superb and packed out in strength and depth! On today’s roster was John Tollitt being the first to be seen, with Vicky Deritis alongside sporting the trusty camera for all those important race shots. Lindsay Walsh was offering her shouts of encouragement on the way out, and importantly she was positioned perfectly to push us on for that final mile! Not to be left out was David Daniels who had picked a beautifully scenic spot past the halfway point, again helping us run through those ever tiring legs.
Back to the race, conditions were tougher than expected. Today, there was a rather distracting headwind, and by the turn at the halfway point it was clear that there were some tired legs out there. A fair few runners did stop on what was supposed to be a fast course! I was feeling tired too, but that was to be expected after my recent training. On the way back to Blyth I was hoping for an ‘easier’ final three miles. Although I could no longer feel the headwind in my face, I wasn’t convinced that the wind was helping much not that I had turned direction. Nevertheless, I was going to push onwards to the goal and with a few runners coming towards back towards me, this was a boost to confidence and overall pace.
I know that as I write this report, many of my fellow runners will be reflecting on their race, how well it went, what could have been better? Hopefully, for each runner today there will be that high point that they will smile back upon, or learning point that they take away from this race in preparation for the next one. From some of the discussions post-race, it was clear that many runners did get personal best times, Rooney got his sub-40 and Sparrow and James (fresh from their exploits at the Nationals yesterday) finished high up in the field. Other pleasing moments were to see Alex looking so strong after his injuries who (if you don’t mind me quoting you Alex) said he would be pleased to get under 45 minutes! You absolutely smashed that today. When the results are published later, you will see for yourself how many other TBHers were out today and how well they did.
For me, though I know that I finished strongly, I really didn’t have the speed in the first half of the race and running 40 min seemed a long way off. I did however run a negative split and pushed hard for the final mile with a pace that would have been worthy of my initial goal. My race time, 41:11 (according to Garmin at the time of writing). To look on the positive side, I did run hard on tired legs and I did run a big PB (44:46 in Saltwell just 3 months earlier). Overall, I am glad that I ran. I am confident that this was race was excellent experience for my next 10k and of course, my big race in Edinburgh at the end of May.
Thanks for reading
TBH – 6 months and counting.
Full results to follow.
The following photographs were shot close to the 5 Mile mark.