Having posted a time of 35:25 in the Battersea Park 10K a few weeks previously I knew I had a great chance of achieving my long term goal of going under 35 minutes and I was hungry to do it as soon as possible. My chosen race to give it a crack was set in Old Deer Park in Richmond. Richmond is quite a leafy well-to-do area of South West London and quite close to where I live in less well-to-do Brixton. I knew it would be a flat course giving me every chance of a fast time. I even got to meet my marathon hero Darren Tanner again who had also entered! Unfortunately he’s been nursing an Achilles’ injury so wasn’t in the same shape as he was when he won a 10K in just over 35 mins recently.
Judging by previous years’ results I even thought I had a chance of a top 3 finish for which there were cash prizes up for grabs. That was until I spotted Fernando, the man who thrashed me in the last race in Battersea Park line up at the start. There were a few serious looking competitors so I was beginning to wonder. Anyway, to the race….. It was a very quick start and there was no way I was going to follow the pace of the first three. Fernando (the man who won Battersea Park) shot away quickly as I expected and I was happy to settle into the 5th/6th place. This was ok considering there was a field of over 550!
The route started on the grass of the park, then was mainly run on road, until we came to the Thames where we went onto some loose stones which was a bit tougher. I was really giving everything I had to get my elusive sub-35 but I was finding it tough. By the last 2Ks I was really struggling to maintain the 3:30/km pace that was required. My GPS watch also tells me my average pace over the race and it was teetering around 3:29/3:30. Just before the final straight we came to a really tight turn and had to go around a gate which isn’t what you want when every second counts! Then I came to the final straight, which was on grass making it even harder to finish! I hit the booster button though and whizzed towards the line. As I crossed the line my eyes fixated on the clock – 35:00!
Now I was left wondering whether my official time was sub-35 minute or not. There was a chance that my chip time was just under. Although as you can see from the photo above it does like like there'd be at least 2 seconds between the 35:01 on the clock and when I first hit the finish mat. I didn’t find out until late afternoon, but it was good news -34:59! A sub 35 10K had originally been my target for the end of the year, then the end of the summer, and then the end of July. That second made a big difference! This was the culmination of months and months of training so I was absolutely delighted. Sub-34, you are next!
Position: 6th/ 553
Time: 34:59 (PB!!!!!)