Last night was my return from myself imposed race exile. I’ve documented on my blog the past 6 months and why a break was needed and since the start of the year I’ve had a few false starts but mentally I was not ready, but last nights race just ticked all the boxes. It was organised by a friend for a good cause, on a route I knew well and was low key. There was no pressure going into it (most of that pressure is usually from myself) and it was good to start fresh.
It was my first race since Feb 2013 racing as unattached and personally something I should have done years back. I also debuted my new Xempo vest, opting to race the 5K distance in the black vest with white design (You can read more about Xempo and my own standards by clicking here and here). The race was organised by Sam who I’ve known now since 2015 when we were both up for the Yorkshire Captain nomination for the Great Yorkshire Run and our friendship has grown since then. In that time Sam has had issues with her own Kidneys and last year hosted a virtual 5k run with everyone getting medals and all proceeds going towards her chosen charities connected to Kidney’s. It just so happened to fall on World Kidney Day. This year was the next step, as well as continuing the virtual one, Sam set up a proper race at the Brownlee Center in Leeds. The same venue as the Even Splits 5k Series and the Yorkshire Road Relays.
With a 19:30 start it was a nice journey up the M1 with my family. With the entire team refreshed after a rubbish 2018. Molly also got to help out on the night helping two other girls hand out the water and medals. She loved it and credit to Molly she congratulated and cheered on every runner. After picking up my number, I spoke to Sam before hand and then did a short warm up. Explaining the route to those unfamiliar helped take my mind off the race ahead. After Sam had explained the ins and outs it was go time. I set off and made a conscious decision not to look at my watch till the end of the 2nd climb, racing to precieved effort, as we headed up the track I soon found myself in the lead and the lad who had stayed with me faded away so as I passed the watching rabbits (yes rabbits!) I hit the top and I started to wind my legs up as I flew back down under the bridge. I felt at this point I was opening up a big lead, however as I hit the next bend the eventual winner had started to reel me in. As he was a young university student he was light on his feet so I never heard him coming as he pushed past me just after the first mile. (looking at my watch splits on way home showed I had run 5:20!!!)
As I raced past the finish line, I could hear my family cheering me on and I aimed to stay strong going up the hill. I stayed close to the leader until the descent, it was here he pulled away as we passed some 1st lap runners. Just before the bridge on the 2nd decent I could hear two sets off feet closing in as they got on my shoulder I thought they were both women as they had long hair tired back, so while I stayed with them for as long as I could, I assumed I was still 2nd male. The wind seemed to be coming from all directions but everyone was having to race same conditions (The second mile was slower in 5:43 but is usually case there due to the climb). I went through to start my final lap thinking I was 4th overall and 2nd male, this lap I had to work round other runners but plenty of space meant it didn’t effect my pace but I got caught out as I got caught with a 4th university student, I gave it everything to try and regain my place but he just pulled way after the final bend.
As I turned final bend I pushed all way to finish and crossed the line in 5th overall and found out I had finished 4th as the two runners with long hair turned out to be one lady and a gent (apologies to him as I only saw his hair from the back and as he was same height as the lady and dark was hard to tell). However I was not disappointed, in fact I was buzzing as I had set a blistering time and nearly 60s faster then I expected. As going into race I wasn’t sure if the training had been right. While the speed sessions and stats from my runs pointed to me being on form you never known until you actually race, plus a lot of speed work had been done on a treadmill. So while I had used a footpod and the effort was there it was good to get a time the training deserved.
Afterwards there was lots and lots of cake and best of all the race and virtual race had helped to raise over £1,500 for Kidney Care UK and Kidney Research UK. Should you like to donate to this good cause you can do so via this link. To finish up it means to get the Yellow standard for 5k I now need to run faster then 17:38, I have updated the Xempo Standards page with the new time.
- Position: 5th
- Time: 17:38.7
- Strava Record: click here
- Kit Used: Xempo Vest, Adidas Base Layer, Arsuxeo 2in1 shorts, Sockimine Black Griplock Lightweight socks