Leamington Regency 10k

I decided to give the Leamington Regency 10k a go in the end, even with my current injury problems. I did do the race last year so in theory it's my first direct comparison I've got on the road between this year and last. The course is not the quickest out there as early on it goes off road around a golf course, before hitting the roads around Leamington but with some very sharp hairpin bends. As a result I did 37.08 last year (my pb is 35.54 which was set a few weeks later).

Anyway, I woke up at 6.45am to find a blanket of snow outside, clearing it off the car showed that there must have been 3-4 inches, although the road surfaces were a bit better. I had wondered whether the race would be on today, but decided to go anyway. On the whole I had to drive a lot slower to get there but thankfully I had allowed plenty of time. As I was on the M42 doing 70 mph I went past a SPECS camera and I thought, that's a bit strange you only see them at roadworks normally, before realising there were loads of signs covered in a blanket of snow (these were difficult to see as well as they were white on white). On came the brakes, but then the next question was to decide what speed to brake to, 40, 50 or 60?? On the way home the snow had melted off the signs so I now know it to be 50mph. I'm now expecting a lovely letter from the Police very shortly, but will definitely fight that one if it comes. I don't condone speed (especially since I work in the industry), but there were literally no signs (that anyone could see) to indicate a speed restriction. Anyway, back to the race...

I got to Leamington and if anything there was even more snow. Thankfully the race was still on, but I would guess it must have been a close call. The start was in a field with a small surfaced track which didn't have any snow on it. I made sure I wasn't on the front line at the start this time as I didn't want to run like a headless chicken as I normally do. About 20 people set off quite fast and I decided to just do my own thing. As the race markings were every km I decided to base my pace on 3.30 mins per kilometre as its easy to work out, even though it is 35 minute pace and well ahead of my pb. I went through the first km in 3.22 so although a touch quick I was comfortable with my start. Bit by bit I started to catch the smaller groups ahead of me, not so much because I was speeding up but more because others slowed down. Early on I decided to take a quick breather behind the runners I caught before moving on. It was clear quite early on that my knee was giving me no trouble, but the off road bit around the golf course was very wet with the odd patch of ice, so I was careful with the sharp bends.

Kilometres 2 & 3 were run at roughly 3.30 min/km pace (5.38 miling), but then I had a bad fourth kilometre as it was mainly uphill and the surface was quite uneven. I think at that stage I was about 8 secs behind target pace which is normally a bad sign when that happens. However the next kilometre to half way was much quicker as it was mostly downhill and the advantage was regained. I think I went through half way in about 17.24, so about 6 seconds ahead of my pre race baseline. It was at this stage that I thought I'd really give 35 minutes a go although meant I needed a good second half. I was feeling strong at that point as I was still catching people up as we headed onto the roads in town. Just as we headed into town I caught sight of the race leaders bicycle at the front of the field and could work out I was 8th and about 30-40 secs behind the leader although the people ahead were well spread out. Bit by bit I worked my way up to 6th and although my lungs were really burning after 8km I still felt reasonably strong. It was also at this stage that I was about 18 seconds ahead of target pace so knew that not only was I going to smash my pb, but also I was almost certainly going to run sub 35 minutes.

Just after 8km I managed to overtake one more person to be fifth and was bit by bit catching 3rd and 4th placed runners, although they were some way ahead and of course the pace differential becomes less and less so takes longer to catch people up. In the end I ran out of distance and I finished in the field by the river in several inches of snow in about 34.35.

I'm really pleased with my run, partly because I felt so strong throughout, partly because of my time and smashed my pb in the process, but also because of how I ran the race. I'm pretty sure that I wasn't any slower than the race leaders in the second half and it appears the second part of the race was faster than the first half. I think the first 5km was done in about 17.23 and the second 5km in 17.10ish. I'm not entirely sure of my exact race time other than it was 34.3x. It also means that I will now have a UK ranking for the 10k distance, probably around 1,300 by the end of the year. I'm convinced that Leamington is not the fastest course around so hopefully there may be a bit better to come. I think the difference between now and last year is that although I'm not that much quicker my overall fitness and form has improved considerably meaning that I can hold the same pace for longer.

I'll take tomorrow off and probably Tuesday too to give my knee a rest even though I didn't notice anything during the race. Once I know my final time I'll update my blog and I know there will be loads of photos so will add these in due course.


  1. Great run mate... looks like the knee is OK if you're doing that sort of time. And I thought my 8km in 35 mins was good last week :) I'll use the excuse that I had lots of steep hills on my course :) Nah seriously, great run.

  2. Yep, pleased with that one and reckon on a better course there is more to come. I think its always better to have a race when you come through the field, rather than running the same time but going backwards. Good luck to you next week - I expect a post on your pre race pace/tactics!

  3. Cheers Lloyd... consider us tent mates for next year. I like hvaing someone push me, and you're in a perfect position to do that :) I'm being selfish here! Although I'll probably last about 100m at the same pace as you

    As for the pub golf on Facebook, we should have a fancy dress day as part of teh MDS, you know like they do at festivals... how about a 70's theme? I'm game :)

  4. How about a tramp look theme on the last day? I think I could pull that one off nicely!

  5. How about Shaun of the Dead? I'm sure I could pull that one off without too much effort!!


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