Ramathon 2017

After my time of 2.27.59 at the Manchester Marathon I managed to obtain a free elite entry to the Ramathon as the qualifying time was sub 2.28.00 so in this case literally every second counts!

The day was clearly going to be very warm (circa 20 degrees) and a reasonable breeze too, not conducive to the fastest possible times.  I had a mini altercation on the start line as one of the elite runners from Coventry Godiva casually just pushed his way right in front of me at the start line.  I decided hold my ground so when it came to be 'On Your Marks' he couldn't lean into a racing start pose and he had to start bolt upright!

Start

Over the first km there was an early group of 7 of us, four of which formed the main group and the remaining 3 of us in single file behind with me at the back.  Just before the end of the first km the group split into two and I was in the second bunch.  I felt reasonably comfortable, yet was surprised to go through the first km in 3.12.  I consciously tried to ease off the gas a bit over the following two kilometres and went through in a pretty speedy, yet more manageable 3.19 and 3.21.  My position was still more or less the same but had now slotted into 6th in our group.  As we went through Derby city centre one of our group of three started to fall away, but at the same time the person in fourth in the group ahead also faded rapidly so I was now oscillating between fourth and fifth.

By the 7th kilometre I had dropped the person I was with and was now in a clear 4th.  I could still see the group ahead and it was clear the first two runners were very strong but 3rd who at this point was about 30 seconds ahead kept looking back - a clear sign of someone struggling.  Soon enough I was starting to catch him and by about 11k I was level.  Up to this point I felt I was running at my limit and occasionally when I had a particularly fast split I would try to ease off a little but to be honest I felt reasonable and couldn't foresee what was to come...

Over the course of the 12th km I had now moved into 3rd but pretty much as soon as I effected the overtake, the Coventry runner seemed to get a second wind and he overtook me again and started to move away!  All of a sudden after the 12th km my legs just seemed to have had enough; it was slightly bizarre to be honest as normally I'd expect the pace to drop away bit by bit but as you can see from the splits below I just went from 3.12-3.20m/km splits to a pretty even 3.30m/km splits over the last 10k.  It was pretty disappointing for my pace to fall away so quickly, whether it was the heat, some stomach cramps I'd started to get, moving from tarmac to gravel paths, going too fast at the beginning or a combination of all these factors I'm not sure.

Over the last few km I was just hanging on if I'm honest and did have a quick look back and I couldn't see anyone behind me so knew I was safe for fourth.  I crossed the line in exactly 71.00.  A new pb by 1.41 so I was pleased with the end result but not really by the nature of how I did it.  I'm pretty sure if I had run the race a bit more intelligently then I'm sure something nearer 70 could have been on the cards.  That being said as I'm still improving (and race relatively little) its sometimes difficult to judge where my fitness is at.  Clear positives - my first 10k were very strong and in fact I ran only 23 seconds slower than my 10k pb.  Clearly some of my speed work recently is starting to pay off as I have no doubt I could have gone considerably quicker than this.  Final positive was that I finished higher than my 'seeded' position of 6th.  1st/2nd/3rd finished in their bib number order and then I was next in.

The downside was how my pace fell away and I was running more or less at my Manchester Marathon pace.  With the benefit of hindsight I should have started more conservatively but overall perhaps I'm just being a tad harsh on myself.

Coming into the finish.


Lanyard for 4th

Prize for 4th place was £40 of running vouchers and a free pizza at a local pub!  With Chester Marathon coming up in a few months this will be my main focus.  I need to figure out how I can run twice the distance at the same average pace as my Ramathon result!  Time will tell whether this is going to be possible!

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