I last did this road race in 2010 when it was still sponsored by the Muller dairy and the sun was shining but I ended up running a personal worst. Me and this 10km had unfinished business. However the course this time was slightly different. Opposite way round to what I run it last time and no running through the factory. £13 attached entry fee for runners who are lulled to the West Midlands with the promise of a bumper goody bag. Haven’t been doing much steady miles the last few weeks but thought I needed to take my running to the next level by starting the Harriers hills and speed efforts. My body isn’t used to it cause i ended up on the treatment table yet again yesterday with the muscles at the top of the left hip tightened up to an extent that my IT band is knocked out. Was told not a good idea to run today but if I had to then to run it steady so there was no thoughts of a PB in my mind today.
Set off at 9am this morning to first collect mother and dogs from Leigh before making the hour drive down the M6 to Market Drayton. Journey pretty uneventful but was beginning to wonder if shorts and singlet was the right choice of clothing cause I was getting further and further down the M6, the sky was getting greyer and not looking like the scorching sunshine that was promised. We arrived at Market Drayton about 45mins before the start. Passed the local Morrisons and promised myself a nice cream cake if I did well. Off to collect our T-Shirts, no small left and only medium no suprise there. Ok next stop the loo. Hmm what the heck has gone wrong here, one of the worst queues I have ever seen at an organised race, wasn’t like that in 2010. Made it out the queue with about 10mins to spare and quickly stripped off and did an impromptu warm up. Chip timing this year for this race and boy with 2000 runners it needs it.
Game plan, well last time I did this the race started on the school field and the race bottlenecked coming off the field onto the road. Was promised on Facebook a miles better exit to the field from what I remembered last time. Had still in the last couple of races been making daft beginners mistakes of running the first mile too fast then loosing stamina and having to slow down. Start right at the back. So I strategically placed myself behind loads of Wrekin Road Runners, Trentham Runners and quite a few other West Midlands club vests.
And we were off, lucky this was chipped timed, took me about 2 mins to cross the line and get into my stride. By the time I crossed the line, it had spaced out pretty well, thought take it easy till I get off the field. Said bye bye to my “Blokie” who ran a steady 46:43. No issues this time off the field, as promised the organisers had widened the exit and dropped the kerb. First km marker quickly upon me, running slightly downhill and picking off various charity runners and quite a few club vests too. 9:20 min/mile pace. Hmm too fast this, need 9:39 average for the sub hour.
Quick right turn at the mini round about and off on the first 3km loop. Next minute two huge tractors coming towards me with shiny signs saying Market Drayton 10km road closed. About a minute behind following was the lead male, nearly jumped out my skin, thinking god am I that slow and two tractors being lead vehicles a first lol. First three kms done and past the local Pork Pie Factory and realised I felt pretty comfortable. At this point I was averaging about 9:40 min/mile pace and thought the PB might be on. I tried to remember what Graham told me as in to run with my arms lower down and found that it does seem to work.
Back to mini round about and this time right turn past the local Asda and up the hill into the town center. Loads of people out to cheer the runners, one of the best supported 10kms I’ve ever run this. Quickly out the town center and thought right watch the watch and time out 6mins between the km markers and i should do it. Latched onto 5 charity runners for Severn Hospice who I thought were running about the pace I needed and stuck behind them most of the way round. From about the 4km mark the course dropped into a very large housing estate and was very twisting/turning and also lots of ups and downs. Expected support to drop off at this point but loads of residents out of their houses clapping and cheering on runners. Quickly on the 5mile mark and was now at this point looking out for the expected short sharp hill back into the town. Starting to feel my hip and IT band again at this point. Hope I haven’t pushed it too much. Here it comes just after the local swimming baths and a sweep left turn up the hill.
Ok shorten stride and pump the arms up the hill thought that was it but no this one was cheeky and carried on past the shops. This point the hip was hurting more than normal so oh no quick 30 second or so walk it out. Have I blown my chance of the sub hour ? Off I went again, quick look of the watch and reckoned I had about 8mins to do about 1.3km. Still manageable but only just . Back to the roundabout again and then 1km to go. Found a burst of energy from somewhere and my average pace then went to 9:09 min/miles. Loads of people still around clapping/cheering. Last 800meters now, oh this is gonna be close find somebody just ahead to fix onto and try and chase down. Latched onto a girl from Wrekin Road Runners and proceeded to close the gap. Just got past her about 100 meters before the finish. Yes done it, quick look at the watch. 59 mins 48 seconds. 3 mins 1 secs faster than my previous 10km a few weeks ago and the magic 1hr barrier broken. Really chuffed cause this has only taken me nearly 5years to get.
However good few days off now cause of the dodgy tight hip and back into the gym to work on the weak glutes.
The goodybag didn’t disappoint either, £13 and a technical t-shirt, gym bag, quality medal, gingerbread man, mars, water, 12 Mueller yoghurts and a huge Pork Pie
Next race for me Edinburgh 10km on Bank Holiday Saturday.