Night of the 10,000m PBs -
20 May 2017
I have to start by saying that this is quite simply the best amateur athletics event in the country! Ben Pochee and Highgate Harriers deserve all the praise they are getting. If you haven't been before I urge you to get there in 2018!
Last year I made it into the event as a reserve; I was put in the first race of the day and managed to win by almost a minute. This year I'd made the automatic qualifying standard and my PB (of 31.55) got me into the 2nd race of the day (Men's D). My 10,000m PB was 33.17, but I wanted to get a lot closer to my road PB. The LBAC record (which had stood since 2011) was 33.15, if I ran well I knew I'd be able to take a good chunk off it.
I wrote about my recent struggles in my report from the BMC Solihull 5,000m last week and was still feeling nowhere near 100% as I traveled down to London. I wanted to get down early to support my friends Chris Oddy (Serpentine AC, who I ran the London Marathon with), Paul Mizon (Redway Runners, a training partner from MK) and Glen Turner (a Leighton Buzzard AC clubmate). When we got to the track it was quiet, but the event was obviously going to be bigger than last year. There were two tents over the track (rather than one) and a double decker bus parked in the field!
The first race was superb to watch. It was won by Lawrence Avery of Kent AC after an incredible sprint finish to beat the long time leader Rowan Preece of Taunton. I urge you to go to Vinco and watch the stream of the last few minutes! My mates did brilliantly, Chris came 5th in a huge PB of 32.22, Glen came 16th in a brilliant PB of 33.44 and Paul also smashed his PB coming 19th in 34.06. 18 of the 25 finishers in race 1 got a PB; the event was living up to it's name!
Our race started at 16.00. There were 28 of us, the first few minutes were utter carnage! I had decided to get into the main pack and follow the pace maker through to 5km in around 16 minutes, then try and run as close to an even split as possible. It took me a while to really get into my rhythm, but I kept the main pack in sight. The support was absolutely superb, it really helped distract me from thinking about the fact that I had 25 laps to do! I was really fortunate to have my mum, cousin Stephen and his son Patrick there to cheer me on! Every lap as I passed the pavilion I heard my mum 'woop'; I loved it!
I was a bit back from the main pack, but with clocks positioned every 200m I knew I was on target. I crossed halfway in about 15th place bang on 16.00, it's amazing to think that I ran 5,000m last week and struggled to run 15.46, now I'd done 16.00 and felt strong. Over the next few laps it was obvious that quite a few of the guys in front of me had gone off too quick. Another mate, Freddie Slemeck (Hercules Wimbledon) kept screaming at me to get further up in the pack, every lap I felt good that I'd moved up at least one place.
I allowed myself to start counting down laps when it got to single figures; it was hurting more and more, but I knew I could make it. With 6 laps to go I caught Richard Gregory (Ranelagh), who I'd trained with a few times in the summer with 'Cottage AC' a group of runners from different clubs at Battersea Park in London.
I continued to overtake people, but suddenly with 2 laps to go Richard exploded into life; I had nothing to respond and let him go. Unfortunately, I wasn't strong enough to get under 32 minutes and knew the game was up when I needed a 65 second last lap, I just didn't have it in me, at 200m to go the clock said 31.30; no way I was making that! With PB and club record in the bag I relaxed and eased home. I finished in 32.11 a big PB of just over a minute! I was delighted to have run an almost even split and finished 5th in the race.
The race was won by James Turner (Brighton & Hove) in 31.53 and my friend Richard's last 800m truly paid off as he flew past the guy in 3rd and broke 32 minutes by a whisker, huge congratulations to him.
I was exhausted and had huge blisters, but absolutely delighted. I've run a 10,000m on track on each of the last 3 years and got quicker by over a minute each time. The hard work is well and truly paying off, maybe in 2 years time I'll be in the A race!
It took about half an hour to properly get my breath back and join my family and friends for a few celebratory beers! 20 out of the 28 in my race ran a PB, another huge success.