On Sunday the 27th of November I took part in the Energized Sports Kingston 10k. I signed up a couple of months back due to the fact Lorna, our flatmate Liv and her boyfriend Toby wanted to do a 10k race. Not including the Battersea Park 10k, which I took part in after big mileage during the day, the last 10k I took part in was the Fast Friday track race put on by Orion Harriers in June (back then I clocked 34:50). Leading up to the race in Kingston I made it to Track Tuesday consistently and I could feel the speed work paying off. Unfortunately, two weeks before race day I picked up the lurgy. It wiped me out completely and so I only took part in the work run club when needed and did the bare minimum for a couple of weeks. I found it really frustrating not being able to train properly especially because I knew track was making a big difference. Although I really wanted to go I had to give it a miss the week before the 10k. I couldn’t complain too much because I knew I’d be back on track (literally) pretty quickly.
Race day was getting closer and closer and I wasn’t feeling much better. I rested on the Friday and Saturday to give myself the best chance of being fit but to no real avail. Waking up on Sunday morning I still felt a bit light headed and my stomach wasn’t 100%. I had already made my mind up that I was going to race and just give it my best. It was an early start, Lorna, Liv, Toby and I caught the 7:22 train from Vauxhall to Kingston. Unfortunately Lorna’s injury didn’t improve in time for her to be able to run; therefore she was on dog-sitting duties looking after Hank whilst Michalis ran. Walking to the Hawker Centre it was really quiet along the river, I guess because it was freezing cold! We were all thinking “Why are we doing this!” Arriving at the centre with plenty of time before the start, it was nice to be able to walk up to the organiser sand be able to pick up my race number without having to queue in the cold. Lorna and I kept warm inside the centre and she helped pin on my race number.
As start time neared we met up with Michalis, Lorna looked after Hank and we went for a little jog down the road to warm up. Having not seen Michalis since the Athens Marathon he let me know how it went and we talked about training and future race plans etc. When we made it back to the start area everyone was taking part in the warm up and there were only a few minutes until gun time. With the standard “3,2,1…go!” we were off.
My legs felt good after the warm up so I decided to set off at around 3:30min/km pace, I knew if I could maintain this pace I would finish in around 36 minutes and that would be ok taking into consideration not feeling 100%. On the start line I recognised a runner; he often comes into The Running Works and runs with the Ravens that we see training around Shadwell Basin when we are on our lunchtime run club. Having spoken to him before I knew he would be aiming for a similar time to me, I decided to catch up and use him as a bit of a pacer.
The first couple of kilometres went by really quickly a) because it’s not very often that I run at 3:30min/km pace and b) because I had a “pacer”. Around 4/5kms problems began to arise, the firm road was replaced with muddy towpath, I wasn’t feeling too great and the runner I was trying to use as a pacer was quicker than me and opening up a bit of a gap. Luckily he was still in sight and I could motivate myself by trying to keep the gap as small as possible. I held a pretty consistent pace but despite my legs feeling good I just couldn’t pick it up. Just after the 6k point I ran passed Lorna and Hank, it was great to see them and it gave me a little boost.
I started thinking “there’s only 3.6k to go, that’s just 9 laps of a track”. The last couple of kilometres were hard work, I was tiring but managed to keep my pace sub 3:45min/km. I was completely unaware but another runner was creeping up behind me; he had obviously planned a sprint finish to pass me. Luckily I heard him with 200m or so to go and just had enough in the tank to outsprint him. I crossed the line in 36:16 in 9th position, all in all not a bad result.
Here’s a map of the route and my splits from Strava:
Lorna & Hank met me at the finish, I had some cuddles with Hank and we cheered Michalis, Toby & Liv through the finish line. Michalis ran spot on 45 minutes, really impressive given how close this race was to Athens Marathon. Toby and Liv also ran really well, Liv finished 5th female! Well done guys.
Overall the Kingston 10k was a great race. It’s really well organised and the route is flat and fast. It’s probably not quite a PB course due to the muddy sections, a few sharp corners and the roads not being closed to the public but I’d definitely recommend it as a relatively cheap fun race to do.
I hope everyone that was racing and/or training over the weekend had a good one. I haven’t got any races lined up for the next few weeks but I’m looking forward to taking part in Advent Running. I’ll see a lot of you at the events in London.