When I sat down to write my last Runners Corner post on this blog, I found myself suddenly booking a last-minute 10k at the Silverstone Racetrack in Northamptonshire as I discovered its fast approaching start date when I scoured the race listings for the Race Focus section. This time, I don’t think I’ll be doing anything quite so spontaneous, if only because the race went so well that I feel as if I shouldn’t rush into booking another.
The conditions on race day were ideal. It wasn’t ideal weather generally but for running I don’t think I could have asked for better. It was cool, but not overly cold. The sun was clouded over. The wind was settled and calm. It is about an hours drive from my house to the course, and from the car park it feels about the same again to actually get to the race village and the famous old track where the race starts. It wasn’t the best start to my race day, as I foolishly assumed the car park and the race start would be relatively close, and began to march over fully dressed, without a bag, and not in my race trainers. About halfway there I realised that I was going to be cutting it close to head to the race village, get my number, and then go back to the car to fix my number to my vest and get changed into my race gear.
I jogged back to the car, and back to the village again, which served as a nice little warm up, and arrived just in time. The race started behind the garages, and with three races (a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon) happening at once there was a mighty crowd of people lined up on the tarmac there. It was a nice ego boost to walk past the majority of them as I moved my way up towards pen 1 and my target time, a few seconds behind the start line and the top runners who I could only dream of catching.
To make up for the fact that I was a little bit further back in the pack then I wanted to be, I started hard. This is no bad thing, as in the past I’ve had good races slowed down by my unwillingness to commit from the off. There is a certain fear that I have, I don’t want to be that guy, that naïve kid, who runs off like a rocket at the start line and is doubled over in pain just half a mile up the road. On this occasion that didn’t happen, and my confident start put me in a good position to settle into a pace which was far quicker than I anticipated. With the fine conditions and the tremendous surface designed to facilitate ultra-fast motor racing, I knew that a fast time was possible, but having just pipped the 40-minute mark for the Rutland 10k (although the conditions there were terrible) I didn’t think a comfortable sub-39 (38:39) was possible.
With that sort of time in the bag, the slow, elated jog back to the car didn’t seem quite so long.
However! Despite my sense of self-importance being greatly inflated by my final time, I must concede that my achievements were not the most impressive, or inspiring, or interesting, of the last couple of weeks. No! Instead, I think these three stories might be more deserving of that attention:
Running Legend Ron Hill Awarded the Freedom of Tameside from BBC News
The story here isn’t so much that Ron Hill has been awarded the Freedom of Tameside, but more it serves a reminder of why he was awarded such a thing. He ran every day for 52 years! That’s alongside being an Olympic athlete and marathon winner. Hopefully nowadays he enjoys a day off every now and again.
A Mile an Hour – Running a Different Kind of Marathon from Beau Miles
This video is from last year, which makes the fact that it has recently blown up and come to my (and many others) attention one of the great algorithmic mysterious of the YouTube universe. No matter when it came out it is a gorgeous video of a man running 1 mile every hour (apart from the first hour where he runs 3) for 24 hours. A real 24 hours, in which he incorporates short bursts of sleep. In between his running he attempts to complete as many physical chores as he can.
It becomes a testament to what the human body can do, and the benefits of using that body to it’s maximum potential as often as you can.
Mo Farah Announces Return to the Track from Runners World (Taylor Dutch)
Oh ho ho, Farah is back, baby! After dabbling in the world of long distance road running British legend, SIR MO is back on the track for Tokyo 2020, aiming to tackle the 10k with those long, rapid legs of his. Does he still have his signature burst of pace? Is he still a gold medal contender? Who knows? I’m looking forward to finding out next year.
Race Focus: Goodwood Motor Circuit
Having raced a motor circuit myself recently, it would be remiss of me to not to point out another opportunity for runners to experience a traffic free race on tarmac so smooth you could slide over it, although this one is little too far away for me to stretch myself out to.
Like Silverstone a variety of distances are offered at the West Sussex circuit: 5k, 10k, 20k, half marathon, and a full marathon. Fun for the whole family! Or something close to fun.
You know, pain, and other similar feelings.
And then fun when you’re finished. Yay!