Kew Garden 10k 2017, part of the Richmond Runfest, was the beginning of a busy weekend for me. For the first time this event, which is held within the beautiful Kew Gardens, decided to have pacers. What’s more, the organisers allowed me to organise the team who joined me in pacing my 35th event. I picked a great team of runners to help me #pickupthepace.
As always I got my kit ready the night before to make sure I didn’t forget anything. Excuse the swimcap, but that’s there for my pm event Swim Serpentine (BLOG).
It was a really early start for the 10k, and as a pacer I was asked to be there just after 7. I had looked into paid parking but found free street parking near by, and could have parked much closer.
Naturally, as I was the one who arranged the pacers for this event there was a large proportion of #visorclub. I was offered to pace the Richmond Marathon, which would have been great. Unfortunately this was a very busy weekend for races and clashed with Reigate Half (BLOG).
We were all given a great top to pace in, however the flags were allocated one between two. I had been allocated the flag, but was pacing with Danny, who was making his pacing debut. I therefore had a quick picture in the flag and then gave it to Danny to wear.
The air was cold, but the rain stayed away. It was one of those mornings that wouldn’t have been pleasant to stand around in, but was perfect running weather once we got going. It’s times like these that I really appreciate all the support who come to events, especially my wife and kids who are always by my side.
I had a great line up of experienced pacers with a couple of really confident, experienced runners making their pacing debut. As I mentioned earlier, I was running with Danny, a super fast and all round great guy. It was a pleasure to run with him. We lined up at the start line and shared some good banter together, filling everyone around us with confidence.
We were leading the 45 minute #funbus together. We ran together side by side for most of the event, but we gave a bit of a gap through parts as the path narrowed. I tended to run ahead slightly whilst Danny carried the group behind. I have to say this was one of the most beautiful 10k’s I’ve ever ran. There are parts like the beginning that were absolutely stunning. If you have ever been in Kew Gardens you will know what I mean. Apart from a few hundred metres the route is entirely inside the grounds.
I had an absolutely amazing time, I always get nervous before I pace, and as I run 10k slightly faster it raises my anxiety. This is natural because I care, but I’m running within my comfort so it’s fine. We ran a really consistent pace throughout, allowing for slight variance with some of the markers.
As part of Danny’s first experience pacing I asked if he wanted to contribute to my blog:
On Saturday I paced the Kew Gardens 10km with Paul. The Rodney to his Del Boy, or the Pinky to his Brain. It was the first 10km I’d paced, and wearing the flag I was quickly accosted by many people looking for a PB or 45 mins. I was reasonably well prepared for the questions on pacing, strategy, running and things of that ilk. And it was interesting seeing everyone’s pre-race nerves, from the other side – that person normally being me. I was a little less prepared for the backseat drivers…with every runner having a running app or gps watch, some were quick to tell me “you’re going to fast, or too slow.” Or the general admin, being pestered because someone was in a incorrect wave, or their bib hadn’t arrived. But you look official so I sort of get it.
My strategy was quite simple, try and deliver consistent 4m 28s kms, keep an eye on the km markers in case the course was long, or short, and keep talking to those around me. All went to plan, Paul guided me through and we delivered everyone home with about 15 seconds in the bank.
The course was beautiful, incredibly flat and easy enough to navigate. Lots of twists and turns, which I enjoy, keeps me motivated to see what’s around the corner. For a chilly 8:30am start there were a decent amount of supporters out cheering, and the medal and t-shirt were of excellent quality. Looking forward to pacing Kingston Half Marathon in 2 weeks and seeing Paul and the gang at the next event.
Back to me:
The course was great, for most of the event, in a unique setting. There were few spectators but those that were out were spot on, as were the marshals. There is one point that goes through a bit of trail which made it a little tricky, but apart from that it was really flat and fast.
We finished within 10 seconds of target time and were greated with lots of happy people who had achieved their PB’s. It looks as though all the pace groups delivered, and everyone had a fantastic time.
This was the start of a busy weekend, and a great warm up for me. I will definitely recommend this event and plan to be back leading the #pickupthepaceteam next year. For more reviews check out Racecheck.