Breckland 10K – Monday 1 May 2017
I have fond memories of this race. I have run it twice before, firstly in 2014 when I broke through 45 minutes for 10k for the first time and again last year when I beat my PB by over a minute.
This time it was my first race in Jags colours, after recently making the switch from the Bungay Black Dogs, and, along with friends Rebecca (Bex) Pountain and Vikki Harper, I was looking forward to breaking in our new club vests.
I knew I would have to go some to beat my current 10k PB (42.31 set at the Marriotts Way 10k in October last year), but was optimistic of a good time on what is a fast and flat course. There is only one hill and as that is in the first kilometre it is good to get it out of the way when you are feeling fresh. I set my Garmin to pace at 4:10 per kilometre and just after 11am we were off.
The race starts in the village of Croxton near Thetford and there is a nice downhill to begin with and then the aforementioned hill out of the village. I was a bit quicker than planned as usual, completing the first kilometre in 4:00, but soon settled into my target race pace and completed the first 5k in just under 21 minutes. By now though I was regretting not having eaten a bigger breakfast and the late morning start meant that I was feeling a bit short of fuel to sustain the same pace for the second half of the race. There is a water station at 6k and I decided to stop and walk to make sure I got a decent drink down me. This is not something I tend to do in a 10k race as I’m always concerned about being able to pick up the same pace, but I was soon up and running again whilst not feeling that great. At this point the course loops back on itself so you get to see other runners heading towards you who are a few minutes behind. I was lifted when I saw and high-fived Bex and then shouted over a word of encouragement to Vikki (smiling broadly as usual 😁), who was not far behind. The next kilometre and a half were the toughest psychologically for me as I struggled to maintain my pace and could feel a PB slipping away. The heat was also a factor and at 8k I chose to stop and walk again to grab one of the wet sponges that were being handed out at this point to cool me down. I decided to take another and squeezed the cold water over my head and then found it hard to get back up to my race pace, a fact borne out by my split time for the 9th kilometre which was up to 4:37 when I checked back later.
The last part of the race is great as a very slight downhill enables you to stride out and, feeling recovered, I picked up again over the last kilometre. As the finish line came into view I could see the clock on 42 minutes something and gritted my teeth for one final push. As I crossed the line I knew I had just missed out on a PB and inevitably thoughts went back to the start of the 9th kilometre when I walked to cool down with a wet sponge. If I had continued running then would I have had enough left in the tank for a PB? Conversely would I have been flagging for the last kilometre if I hadn’t stopped to cool down? Maybe I shouldn’t have gone out so quickly over the first 5k or had a bigger / later breakfast? It was all academic of course and no runner I know ever found it easy to run a PB and there is always another race to have another go.
After having my chip removed I went back up the course to cheer Bex and Vikki to the finish. Bex judged her race perfectly to beat her 10k PB by 3 seconds and as for Vikki, well she totally smashed hers by over 2 minutes! We celebrated afterwards with our families by having a picnic at nearby High Lodge, which included a delicious cake baked by my wife Gail.
Claire Owen also ran for the Jaguars. Sorry we didn’t get to see or speak to you Claire. Will look out for you next time.
Our chip times were as follows:
Phil – 42:41
Bex – 46:29
Vikki – 48:48
Claire – 53:44
One final thing: When I run or race on my own I sometimes have a song going through my head that I cannot shake off. This time is was “You’re in love with a Psycho” by Kasabian that had wormed it’s way into my ear and refused to budge for the duration of the race. I’ve no idea where that came from unless it was on the radio on the way there!