Burton 10k

The last couple of months of training have been a bit up and down.  I was starting to hit some good form in early July but then I started to develop some pain at the back of the knee and various other niggles which I've struggled to shake off.  As a result I've done very little focused sessions and have been trying to just get out and do some miles to keep ticking over.  Today's race was therefore a bit of an unknown.

I knew that the Burton 10k course was very undulating and most definitely not a pb course.  The plan was to take the first couple of km easy as the climb was best part of 50 metres.  Over the undulating next 6km I then planned to gradually make a move and throw everything left into the sharp downhill in the last 2km to the finish.

Course Profile

As we set off I felt pretty reasonable and was happy to slot into 3rd with two runners about 5-10 metres ahead of me.  This continued for the first km and into a very sharp 30m hill where I purposely kept off the gas and fell a little further behind.  None the less I was surprised to go through the first km in 3.32 which by any accounts is very slow.  Into the second km there was a sharp descent followed by another steep climb.  Again, I kept off the gas but in doing so I still managed to pull alongside second place, but the leader was moving further ahead.  I went through the second km in 3.29, about 8 seconds behind the leader.  With two km as slow as this I knew any chance of a pb was out of the question so the focus was to just have a good race.

Just after the start - all good!

Slotting into 3rd just after the start.

Between km 2-6km I went into a clear second place and I tried to close down the gap to the leader.  I was making some slow progress in doing so and was about 4 seconds behind at the 6km mark.  I could have closed it down quicker than this but would have almost certainly resulted in hitting the red zone.  However, at the 6km mark the leader went slightly the wrong way, partly being sort of misdirected by well intentioned marshals but to be honest he didn't really pay attention so it was a 50/50 call in my opinion.  As a result of the error I was now joint leader.

Between 6-7km we more or less ran together although in the main we were either side by side or I was just a metre or two behind.  To be honest I was starting to feel it at this point, the pace was not so hot that I was in danger of being dropped but at the same time there was no way that I could have made a move.

Joint lead at 7km mark.

During 8-9km there was a steep descent back into Burton and I was a little nervous as I'm generally a very weak descender so I did my best to hang on, but as it happens we were more or less evenly matched.  I had to run in the busy road as the parked cars were half parked on the pavement and it was not wide enough for the pair of us to run on.  It was this section where I ran a 3.00 and 3.05km which is very pacy but obviously heavily influenced by the sharpness of the descent.  We were still neck and neck and all to play for.

At 8.5km I just sensed that I was starting to pull ahead a little, not by much but perhaps a gap of a couple of metres.  It was now that I knew was the time to make a move and give whatever was left.  All of a sudden as the road flattened out again I was 5, 10, 15 metres ahead so knew I just needed to keep hold of this pace if I could.  With 1km to go my lead was about 9 seconds so I just needed to hang on as we entered the track complex and finished with a final lap of the athletics track.

About 500 metres to go, shortly entering the track for a final lap to the finish.

At this point I was pretty much spent and didn't have anything left to increase the pace any more.  However I could just sense a slight narrowing of the gap between the pair of us, not by much but enough to try and push a little harder.  With about 200 metres to go I knew the race was won and I crossed the line in 32.38.

About to enter the home straight.

50 metres to go.

About to cross the line.  2nd place was about 80 metres behind me.


I was really surprised by the time, only 16 seconds behind my pb so had a very strong second half of the race when I'm normally just hanging on.  I've no doubt that had the course been a bit flatter and less warm that a sub 32 minute run would have been on the cards (possibly 31.45 - 32.00?).  Needless to say I'm pretty chuffed with the result, the time and how well I paced the run, especially the last km that I did in 3.07 on the flat.  It gives me a bit of confidence now that I'm only 8 weeks away from Chester marathon.  I'm also £25 better off for taking the victory as well so happy days!

 Prize giving.


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