Tag Archives: PB

Vitality London 10,000 2016: Race Report

I’d booked this race many months ago, as I had such a great time in the 2014 staging of the event. It’s a popular 10k held in London, with the race assembly area on the Mall right in front of Buckingham Palace and the finish on “Spur road” – the last corner of the London Marathon – taking in many popular landmarks along the route.

Waking up on Monday morning, I quite frankly couldn’t have been in a fouler mood. I’d had a few bad runs in the week leading up to the race, my legs weren’t playing ball and I thought I’d actually run slower than my PB – a time I had since beaten as part of both Bramley 10m and the Cardiff World Half Marathon!

We arrived late, the weather was overcast and I needed the loo. And the queue was predictably enormous. It all felt like a bit of a waste of time and money. Not only for the entry, but the fuel, the parking and the train.

With all that in mind though, there we were, Jodie and I, plus Imogen, Lauren’s friend who was running her first 10k. Jodie was planning to run with Imogen all the way,  which given that she’s 7 and a half months pregnant was probably a wise choice!

We went our separate ways before I went to the toilet stop as I was in a different wave and needed to check my bag. The toilet queue made me stress even more but actually moved quite quickly, and I made it into the start pen with about 10 minutes to spare.

Before long, and without too much fanfare, we were off.

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My strategy was to target about 6.45 pace which would have been sub-42, a 45 second PB. I didn’t think I’d get it, but I figured at the worst I’d still fall inside the PB even if I slowed up.

The course itself differed this year from when I ran it in 2014. There was more running through buildings and no running on the Embankment, which was a bit of a shame as that was one of my favorite parts of the course as it took in basically the last 2 miles of the London Marathon.

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2014 Course
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2016 Course

The course is advertised as predominantly flat, though I found the profile actually quite odd. I had no feeling like I was really running uphill at all at any point of the race, but there were certainly some fast downhill sections. Looking at the course profile it looks like there was a lot of climbing in the first mile – thankfully I didn’t notice it! According to Strava, there was 161ft elevation gain in total.

london10kprofile

During that race we ran through Trafalgar square, the theatre district, past St Paul’s Cathedral… not that I saw any of them. I DO remember passing Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament and Birdcage Walk though.

Aside from my personal preference of the “sights en-route” being better on the old course, the biggest problem with the ne course was the narrowness of the course after Trafalgar Square. Running down the Strand was VERY congested right up until we got to Aldwych were it seemed to open up, but until then it was almost impossible to find a comfortable stride and space to run unimpeded.

The support through the race was excellent and I can’t think of anywhere en route that was sparsely cheered.

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My first mile was a little slower than I would have liked, but I didn’t realise it was net uphill. I managed to bring the pace down a bit for mile 2 but it went up again for 3. Strangely however, I crossed the 5k mats in 20.55. This was encouraging for 2 reasons. Firstly, this was the time I ran Yeovilton 5k in a couple of weeks ago – where I died on my arse – and was still feeling pretty comfortable. Secondly, My watch didn’t register that it was 5k yet and was coming up short, which meant my pace was actually OK.

With this in mind, I pushed on for the second half and ran a very creditable second half in about 20.35(ish). With the last 1.2 miles at a decent pace I really didn’t expect to have at all, yet alone in the final stages. This resulted in a tidy negative split too, which I was very pleased about!

10kanalysis

So in spite of my foul mood trying its hardest, I actually came away with a PB. Now don’t get me wrong I still don’t feel in great shape. I still think back when I was in Marathon peak form pre-Manchester I think i could have managed a sub-40. If I hadn’t had such a shocking post-Manchester recovery, and I’d been able to kick on I think I could have managed it too. But c’est la vie. It’s still great for the confidence that it’s somewhere in the right direction, better than Yeovilton last month.

The finishing funnel was excellently managed, people kept getting moved on and the tag was removed on a funky bridge – saving the volunteers backs – which was a great idea.

Then to top this off, the goody bag was absolutely first class. An Adidas “Response” technical tee, cracking medal, loads of food and drink too. Probably the best goody bag I’ve ever had.

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Considering the price of this race was only £28, I felt that this was EXCELLENT value for a city center race with such a good atmosphere and goody bag.

The only down side was the queue for the baggage. By no means as bad as the Manchester Marathon fiasco, but still quite a wait.

After I finished my race I went to find Lauren who was supporting and cheered in Jodie and Imogen at the 150m to go point. They looked really strong, Imogen ran really well and I think she actually enjoyed it too.

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All in all, a fabulous race and we will certainly be back – a highly recommended race.

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Run Report: Little Stoke parkrun

On parkrunday we visited another new parkrun to us, the under-threat from closure by the parish council, Little Stoke parkrun.

The council who are short sighted enough to think that the cost of a few loo rolls (Ok I’m sure its more complicated than that) outweighs the benefits of 300 of its local residents staying fit and active!

Ahem.

Anyway, we arrived with Nikkii and Steve and got the obligatory selfie.

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This was designed to be a tune-up race for me – yes I know parkrun is not a race, but what I intended was for it to be run at a race effort, all out, to see what shape I am in.

I’ve not run an all out 5k effort since August in Yeovilton, post honeymoon and well out of shape – mainly because of that very reason. I knew I wasn’t in PB form, what was the point?

So here we were in the exact same point in my training plan that I set my PB at Newbury last year. Could I finally go sub 20?

I treated it as a race, wore my club vest, did a proper warm up… the works. I had a time in mind and I set my watch for it. No rain, no wind. I felt ready.

The run briefing was excellent, and they warmly welcomed all tourists, but unusually we had to walk nearly half a lap to the start which actually meant we started a bit late. No big deal but as I wanted to start near the front I got there early and had to wait for everyone to catch up!

Without much fanfare, we were off. The course itself is a 3 and a half lapper, all tarmac but on some quite narrow paths. It is also pretty flat, though half the lap you are gradually moving (very slightly) uphill, so the second half is ever-so-slightly down. Its not too noticeable until the last lap when you realize you are blowing out of your ass at the farthest point of the course!

littlestoke map

The marshals around the course were excellent and very supportive, and of course there was always Nikkii making her voice very well heard! I’m sure whoever was running near me also got a boost from her yelling at me for going too slow!

The first lap and a half flew by and I was on pace for my target. Then I started catching some back markers. Despite the best efforts of the marshals and the briefing to keep them to the right, unfortunately they didn’t so it meant a lot of weaving for the rest of the run. It cost a few seconds but hey its parkrun, a run not a race!

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Mile 2 was bang on pace (Mile 1 was ahead) and mile 3 started getting tough, probably because I went too quick in mile 1. As I reached the “peak” of the gradual slope and started going a little downhill my legs turned to jelly and I had to really concentrate to hold it together. I was on target still. I dug my heels in. With a quarter of a lap to go I saw I was within 5 seconds of a time with an even nicer ring to it… I gave it one last effort and crossed the line, ready to collapse in P16.

My watch said 19:20. My target was 19:30 and my old PB was 20:22. A PB by over a minute! (The time was confirmed in the official results later).

littlestoke race analysis

I immediately lay on the floor to recover. Absolutely exhausted but utterly thrilled. Not only had I beaten my PB, I had SMASHED it. A guy from behind me thanked me for pacing him – happy to help but it was unintentional! The only person I was racing was myself, and I bloody won!

With a single lap/out and back course with no traffic, I wonder how close I can get to 19 minutes? I hope its not another year away.

The team at Little Stoke did an excellent job. Unfortunately we couldn’t stick around for coffee but if the council come down and see the joy in peoples eyes when they see friends, and achieve their personal goals, and they can see how important this is to the local and national community you would hope they could see no other option but to forget about their objection.

Thank you Little Stoke, long may you continue!

Race Report: Bramley 20/10

Sunday was the date of the Bramley 20/10 – a Road race around the village of Bramley in Hampshire (Just outside of Basingstoke) which is a relatively flat 10 mile loop. 20 milers do the same loop twice.

It’s quite a well-regarded race on the calendar as one of the few 20 mile races around for good marathon preparation, and attracts a field of great runners (And these three reprobates).

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Dave and Simon were in the 20 miler, and I was doing the 10 as that fit better with my training plan. Jodie also took part, and was entered in the 10 mile but wanted to see if she could do the 20 with her sister Lauren, who was using the race as her first 20 miler in training for her first marathon in Manchester. Jodie didn’t want to sign up for the 20 as she wasn’t sure how her pregnancy would affect her ability to run 20 miles.

Getting to the race was easy enough, and the car parks were signposted from the main roads. The only problem we found was that we ended up in the “overspill” car park which was a good 15-20 minute walk to the start – but no big deal.

By the time we got there the HQ was bustling with loads of runners assembling and changing. The organisation here was excellent with plenty of toilets (Though the queues as always before the start of a race, were massive) and great baggage and changing facilities. It was absolutely freezing though, definitely a day for gloves! We of course got the obligatory club pic!

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Start arrangements were pretty good – whilst there were no “pens” there were very clear signs indicating where you were meant to stand based upon your predicted finishing time. Being a good local race with many experienced runners, this seemed (to me) to be pretty well-respected. The only slight problem was we were all too bunched at the front and had to be moved backwards so not to affect the timing mats!

We  were away pretty promptly, and aside from a bottleneck about 50 meters in – thanks to an inconsiderate driver who parked on the course – we were away cleanly.

The course itself is of a reasonably flat profile, with a few climbs (The main one being at 6 miles) but nothing too strenuous, and the rolling nature of the course meant it was pretty fast. There was a small loop then a larger loop – a bit like a lopsided bow tie. The roads were open, but there was very little traffic. Though saying that, I did see one close call between a van and a BMW who ended up nose to nose, 6 inches apart!

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In my race I was neck and neck with number 278, and we chatted regularly throughout keeping each other motivated. He looked and sounded a bit like John Bishop, only shorter!

Thanks to Barry Cornelius of Oxon Races, we got some good action shots.

Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)

Being the only one doing the 10 miler I saw everyone pass the halfway stage after I collected my bag. I JUST missed Dave but saw him through the fence. Everyone looked really strong at halfway.

Somewhat astonishingly, just before I saw Jodie and Lauren, the winner of the 20 miler came through in 1h40 or something ridiculous like that. Absolutely motoring!

At the finish the goody bag had some decent stuff in it – A “Seed shot”, a mars bar, some Dolmio pasta and cheese, and a decent medal. The other nice touch was they had a “trolley token” key ring – perfect when you need a pound coin for your shopping trolley!

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It was a great race all in all. I was delighted to have PBed, Dave wasn’t too happy after a consistent first lap but a difficult second. Simon maintained a good average but was a bit up and down on his mile splits, and Jodie/Lauren did brilliantly – much faster than we expected them to come through in.

And the scores on the doors:

Bramley 10m
P47 – Matthew Warr – 1:06:44 (PB)
P515 – Jodie Warr – 1:42:16

Bramley 20m
P190 – David Purchase – 2:27:30
P206 – Simon Carney – 2:30:33
P706 – Lauren McCarthy – 3:33:07

All in all a fabulous race, highly recommended!