With the cross country season finished and road races now popping up around the country, I headed to Derby on Sunday for the annual Derbyshire Building Society 10k.
This was probably one of my favourite races from last year, owing mainly due to the unique starting point and finish inside Pride Park football stadium.
Conditions on the morning of the race were ideal for a P.B with a cool temperature and only a light breeze. When combined with the flatness of the course and a starting place in the “pink zone” of runners, just behind the elite runners, I knew I had an ideal chance to improve my time of 39:59 set in the same race in 2010.
As the race started I noticed a runner just ahead with a very bright pink T-Shirt, at first I thought it was a charity runner dressed as the Pink Panther, but the back of his shirt read “Sub 40 Pacer”. There was no way I wanted to be chasing that for the next 6 miles and so I upped the pace and knew that as long as I stayed ahead of him I would be on for a decent time, hopefully finishing in the top 100.
The first couple of Km’s were fairly uneventful as the route started outside the stadium and along the A6. The only real uphill section of the course was between Km 3 & 4, through Derby town centre with several sharp turns in between the shops and Cathedral.
I went through the 5k point in 19 minutes, which was roughly 30 seconds ahead of what I had expected and so I tried to slow down slightly after burning out in the second half of a few races during last year. The run continued back along the A6 towards the Stadium, before turning back again in the opposite direction.
The 8km mark was run on path, right alongside the river Derwent. By this point the clock was at 30.35 which meant a sub 40 minute finish was virtually guaranteed, I tried to “kick for home” which was probably a bad idea as the 9km marker seemed to take an age to appear.
By now the stadium was in sight and although I had officially ran over 10k, there was still three quarters of the football pitch to run around. The South stand of the Stadium was packed with spectators cheering on family & friends, making an incredible noise as I ran behind one of the goals. After a final burst over the line the clock had stopped as 38.45 which was 67th place out of the 3,000 or so starters.
To beat last years’ time by over a minute was quite surprising but perhaps all those cold winter training sessions running through Ouston in the wind and rain are finally starting to pay off!
N.B – For anyone interested the Great North 10k has been switched from Sunderland to Gateshead this year and will take place on the 17th July. Then race starts and finishes outside Gateshead Stadium and, for the most part, will be ran along the Quayside. Full details are on HTTP://www.greatrun.org