My Leigh 10k Experience by Diane Hill
Sunday 13th August, 6:30 am Alarm Call can only mean one thing – Race Day. For me it wasn’t just any Race Day, it was my first as a Wigan Harrier, my first 10k since Wigan 10k 2014; it was a big day for me.
I don’t normally take on food before running, but I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to run my best time. So, wholemeal bread toasted with Peanut Butter (organic Meridian) with a Banana would be a good choice.
7:30am soon came around and it was time to hit the road, dressed ready to go – Harriers Vest proudly worn, my husband took control of the driving and off we set. Arriving in Leigh at just after 8am, the venue was in full swing setting up and the registration tent was open. I nervously went over to collect my race pack, number 215 took pride of place on my vest, timing chip placed around my ankle, off I set in search of fellow Harriers and a friendly face to try and calm my nerves.
First faces spotted – Sam, Tony, Lynne & Stephen, all offering wise words on how best to manage the race. I had it set in my head that I needed to achieve less than 1 Hour. Telling myself that 59:59 would make me happy. I’ve done 3 10k’s, times getting worse, first 1 Hour 4, second 1 Hour 8 and final one 1 Hour 12, so to set myself under 1 Hour was a big ask.
9:10 am – Lynne suggested we start making our way over to the start and do a brief warm up. Off we went, Tony encouraging us to do a brief run to warm up the legs – I’m glad we did, sound advice. In the back ground could hear Luke Marsden (ex Big Brother contestant) doing his bit on Stage for Wish FM to rally the troops up to the start. I had decided to set myself amongst the 55 Min marker to give me a chance (sound advice from Sam).
9:30 am – Count Down begins and boom off we go. Three laps of Leigh, 10k, 6.2 Miles and we’re off. The first lap was a short lap, no hills – traffic management was obviously going to be an issue as some motorist already complaining to the marshals with 541 runners coming at them. It also became apparent that the sun beaming down was getting warmer. The support around the course was great, the leighers giving their encouragement. Lap 1 completed, it was then onto the longer 2nd lap. At this stage the 5k marker couldn’t come soon enough – water was definitely needed. The sun was getting warmer and my mouth was really beginning to dry out. Water station in sight, bottle was grabbed and water taken on. Just further up, I could hear familiar voices, Jayne and Dave cheering on, this spurred me on – just what I needed to give me the boost to get me moving again, I asked Jayne if the 55 min marker was still behind me in case I missed him passing me, he was which gave me hope that under an hour was still possible. Shortly after, the crowd at the start came into sight for the 2nd time and it was on to the final lap. Within seconds of passing, I heard Luke’s voice announcing the first runner was about to cross the finish line….. My stomach dropped, first runner back and I’m just starting the 3rd lap and my hope disappeared as the 55 minute marker passes me. At this stage I felt I had gone out to quick in the first few miles. My in-experience was starting to show. Positive thoughts needed to get me through the last few miles. I just thought, get to the water station, take on some water and nail the last part of the race. Water station in sight, unfortunately no water, not what I wanted to see. Anyway – just a little further up, the support from Jayne and Dave gave me the much needed boost yet again and I had the knowledge knowing the finish line was in sight. A quick glimpse of my watch gave me hope that my sub 60 minute 10k was still in reach, I then remembered something Jayne said at one of the Tuesday night Haigh sessions – it’s not your body that says you can’t do this, it’s your head. So I gave myself a good talking too and knuckled down. Eventually the finish line came into the view, the crowd clapping and cheering. Adrenalin kicked in and my stride instantly picked up – I heard a member of the crowd shout go on girl, good strong finish – this spurred me on and boom – finish line, crossed, watch stopped!
First Harrier I saw was Sam and he asked how I did, I looked at the time when I crossed the finish line and hoped for 57-58 minutes. All the other Harriers where very supportive and asked how I felt it had gone. I was feeling great, extremely warm, a litre of much needed water was consumed. Then, a proud moment – a group picture.
I couldn’t wait to get home and connected my watch to see what Strava had recorded. I was completely floored with the 56:10 it flashed before my eyes. I thought can’t be right, I doubted myself. Official Chip time appeared – 56:11.
All the months of training, encouragement from Jayne and all the other Harriers have paid off. Now to improve – Wigan 10k next and looking to go for 55 Minutes (or under).