On Sunday 15th July I took part in the British 10k for the 6th time. This year the British 10k continues to be sponsored by Virgin Sport and Asics and what another fantastic event. I don’t take part in a lot of 10k runs, but this is always one of the highlights, as you can’t beat running through London, with amazing crowds and lots of happy runners. Today was a warm one, and this no doubt would have had an impact on everyone running.
This is the 6th time I’ve ran the event, but also the 3rd time I have paced it. In 2016 I finished in 44:51, and in 2017 in 44:40. This is also my PB course with a finish of 37:27 in 2012. You can read more about this and last year in my British 10k 2017 BLOG.
As always I got my kit ready the night before the event to make sure I had everything I needed. I had a dilemma this year, should I match my socks with my trainers, or my top. I asked for help from social media and although I had a mixed response, the majority went for trainers, so I matched with my new trainers.
It is always lovely running with Virgin Sport as they share my passion for pacing. It’s all about having fun, no matter what time you run. So the group of pacers extends to everyone, to the final runner, with the backpackers picking up the back of the pack. It was nice getting a group photo together before we started.
After our group photo I made my way to the start line chatting to lots of runners along the way. I’m not going to list them all as risk missing people out, but for all those that come over to say hello, thank you, it’s always lovely to talk. I took the opportunity to walk down the Mall, as come on, how often do we get the chance to do this. When I got to the starting area it was very busy, but I must say, after doing this race for years, it has got so much better. In years gone by you couldn’t get near your start pen, today it was easy. There was water by each entrance too, so even though it was really hot, it was easy to stay hydrated. The only negative would be the lack of control at the pens, you could go to any pen you wanted without being challenged, which did lead to people starting too far forward.
Once in the start pen I got to know those running around me. There were lots of familiar faces around, and lots keen to hit 45. It was always going to be a challenge today in the heat, but everyone was up for the challenge.
I explained my strategy to everyone, which in Short was to average 7:10 min miles, which was about 4 seconds a mile fast. This allows for the course deviation as it is a technical course with lots of turns and you are likely to run long. I also explained that a couple of bumps lead to fast/slow miles. Rather than try to fight the course and keep it perfectly steady I would adapt to the course and run by effort. For example I know Mile 3 is a particularly tough section, there is no need to kill yourselves on the hill, when you can run faster on miles 2 and 4 at relative ease.
It was not long until we were off, but it was a slow start. I expected it to be, and had told those around me not to worry. It does take a good 400 metres to get some space and run at the right pace. I don’t know if it gets worse the further back you start, but the start is always difficult. I don’t worry about things that I can’t change, so once we get space I pick up the Pace slightly more than desired to even it out. That way I can finish the first mile bang on course. I hit the first 1k at 4:34, so only a few seconds out, but by 2k we were at 8:58 which is perfect.
We spent the whole course on target, I went slightly fast on mile 2 and 4 as anticipated, which accommodated a lower mile 3. My watch current pace was all over the place, maybe because of the tall buildings, but it really wasn’t reliable. So I just kept an eye on average pace. At each K marker I was hitting within 1-2 seconds of desired time, so exactly where needed to be. I usually like to have a little bit of a cushion, and according to my watch I did.
The last couple of miles I pushed the pace about 5-8 seconds a mile faster than desired because I wanted to not be too close to the k markers. I think I must have been taking corners too wide or something. It felt nice and steady, but running faster was not putting me ahead of target, I knew it would even out at the finish so was not so worried.
I kept a good group with me throughout, but unfortunately I lost some runners because of the heat, but they were not too far behind. Once it got towards the finish everyone was having to dig deep, and I kept trying to keep the encouragement up, singing along to all the music, shouting out splits, and the general slap on the back. I had so much fun, and that’s the main thing. I know when pacing, if I have fun hopefully those around me are too. If you are having fun you are likely to be distracted and it makes hitting targets feel so much easier.
I love crossing the bridge by Big Ben at 8k, shame it’s covered in scaffolding still. From this point on we really are on the home stretch and at 9 k I spent the whole time telling people to get ahead of me. On the final 200 metres I saw a lady fall and hit the barrier. I rushed to help her up with another runner, but she needed medical attention. As another runner came (who happened to be Jonathan) I left her in capable hands as I finished. I was distracted at the end, rather than the normal finish I shouted to the first aid to go and help, and waited for her to be brought across the line. True running community spirit in full flow, and so please she seemed ok, and I left her being looked after.
After lots of hand shakes and cuddles, and chatting I remembered to look at my time, as I had been distracted waiting to see what happened with the lady who had fallen. Happy to have finished in a time of 44:55, and pleased to see so many people coming in under their target, and those that missed were still happy as not far behind.
No matter what time you finished in, we all get the same medal and goody bag. Well done everyone, what’s next??? For me it’s Ironman Hamburg, something that really isn’t in my comfort. I won’t be fast, and it won’t be pretty, but I will finish, and that is the personal challenge for me. Then I’m looking forward to pacing lots of events in the autumn with Berlin and Chicago Marathon being the highlights.
After the event I went to get my things and catch up with Charlie who grabbed a PB today, but didn’t have it in her today to stay with me, I’m sure she will one day soon. With all the marathon training she is doing getting the speed for a 10k is hard, so she should be really happy with a PB.
Thanks again to everyone who ran with me, and all the shout outs. It is fantastic meeting so many great runners in this community. Until next time, keep up the good work and give me a shout if you have any questions.