After two weekends of cross-country racing, I was back on familiar turf today – well tarmac – for the Dewsbury 10K. Flat tarmac is much more up my street.
There was nothing even vaguely rude on the finishers’ T-Shirt this year. This was somewhat disappointing to me. After the phallic emblem last year, I had hoped that they would double-down for maximum shock value; but alas it was just a simple black long sleeved job with a few adverts on it.
I’ve had a lazy week, due to tapering down for the race today and also to my attendance at a boozy black-tie dinner on Thursday evening. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol and talking boll***s until 3 in the morning isn’t very conducive to run training.
I didn’t run the Valley Striders interval session on Tuesday evening, instead I went to see Clem Burke and Bootleg Blondie at the Brudenell Social Club. Once I got past the fact that one of the World’s greatest rock drummers was playing in his own tribute band, I just marvelled at being the presence of an absolute master.
I felt fresh and quite perky on the start line at Dewsbury. When my mate Al asked me what I hoped for, I went with 37 minutes. I actually hoped to go a bit quicker than that, say 36:45, but I like to sandbag a bit.
I got squeezed a few rows further back than I wanted to be at the start, meaning that I didn’t manage to run unhindered until about 1K into the race. I didn’t look at the watch much, I just tried to find that sweetspot of moving well without tripping into the red.
I have raced Dewsbury on numerous occasions, I knew that the fourth and fifth kilometres were the toughest (though still only marginally up hill); but after the turnaround I can usually crank up the pace and come home faster than I went out.
I made halfway in 19:01, which was a little disappointing. I chided myself and then picked it up for the run back. I recognised a few of my usual rivals in the field and focused on picking them off. The run back was into a blinding low sun, so it wasn’t easy to see what was up ahead, I stared at the tarmac 12 feet in front of me and powered on as best I could.
photo Matt Blakeley
I passed my club-mate Nobby at about 6K, he normally beats me easily these days, so either he was having a bad one or I was flying…it turned out to be the former.
I really enjoyed the gentle downhill of the second 5K and was moving steadily up through the field. With just over 1K to go, I saw that Joseph Kwallah from Wetherby was just ahead – he’s a fellow MV50 runner whom I often finish close to at local races. I was hurting, but I resolved to try to bridge across to him and to try to take him in the sprint.
I managed to catch Joseph in the shadow of the viaduct and then launched my finishing effort, just managing to maintain my advantage at the line.
I finished in 37:01 chip-time, 37:10 gun-time, so the second 5K took me 18 minutes flat. I finished 5th out of 127 in my age category, 15 seconds off an age group podium position.
My prediction of 37 minutes made to Al at the start proved uncannily accurate. I was satisfied rather than delighted. I felt I nailed the second half, but perhaps I left a few seconds out there, due to being asleep at the start. My time was about 40 seconds slower than 2018.
Many of my Valley Striders team mates had great runs and there were lots of PB’s being celebrated in the chilly post-race de-brief.
It is back to bashing out mileage next week, hopefully completing the first 20 mile training run of the block next Sunday
LM -12 weeks
11 stone 4.0 lbs
22.2 miles, longest run 9.2
Parkrun : None
RunBritain Ranking 2.6 (unchanged)