The weather was cool and wet with light drizzle at the start as hundreds of competitors lined up for the start of the race at Cantley Park. A delay was threatened at the start of the race thanks to the owner of a Mercedes blocking part of the course but the vehicle was swiftly moved and the race commenced on schedule.
To be honest both Matt and I weren’t expecting anything special, I was recovering from the Thames Trot 50 (actually 48 miles) and had a nagging heel injury whereas Matt had been laid low with various coughs/colds and a niggling calf strain. We decided to take aim for 8 min miles (good pace for me but slower than Matts usual race pace) and see how we went.
The start of the run was narrow as the competitors funnelled their way out of Cantley Park onto the more open road but the pack began to spread out after the first few miles. The course took place on the roads (some of which had been closed) and the footing was fairly flat with a couple of undulating hills at the start and reversed at the end. The weather was wet but thankfully the runners avoided the worst of the weather which fell around mid-day.
We ran togather for the first few miles keeping each other going average 7.15 – 7.20 min/mile pace which was better than we had planned but we both felt comfortable with this. I was expecting to drop off at some point as my current focus is on mileage (and climbing the Fetch Training Ladder!) and I had done a cheeky 8 miler the day before so I was expecting to feel it towards the second half of the race.
However, at the 7 mile point I felt ok and continued on at the same pace. I managed to continue 7.20 min/mile pace (unheard of for me to be honest) and eased slightly ahead of Matt. I spotted Sue slightly ahead of me around mile 9-10 and had a brief chat as we entered the latter stages of the race.
The last mile or two of the race was tough going with a head-wind and rain picking up as we approached the reverse of the undulating hills at the start but I tried to continue at the same pace which was a bit of an effort, the legs were really starting to feel tired now but glancing at the Garmin I calculated I would be ahead of my previous PB so that was a great incentive to keep going.
I spotted the finish ahead and was hanging on a bit now, glancing at the Garmin I would be well below 1.40 for the first time ever. I was really pleased that I had over-taken people (gradually) the whole race and no-one had overtaken me at all… apart from someone who then passed me in a sprint for the line. This was the final incentive I needed and I put in a short sprint to overtake this person and a few others as I finished in a new Personal Best of 1.36.
Matt finished closely behind me after tracking me for a good period and making up some ground in the latter stages to also finish in 1.36 and Sue came in shortly afterwards in 1.38.
Unfortunately, there were no goody bags but competitors did receive a medal, water and a nice cup of tea or coffee at the end to warm them up.
A well organised event overall with plenty of marshalls and helpers at the start/finish and around the course. The generally flat nature of the course means this race has good potential for PB times.