Tamworth Gate Gallop

Training in the last few weeks has by and large been positive although I am very much still in tick over mode and am not doing any hard sessions of note.  I've entered the Bournemouth Marathon in October and Valencia Marathon in December so that gives me something to focus on.

I entered the Gate Gallop some time ago as for the first time I've been available to do the race and is only 3 miles or so from home.  Its pretty much entirely off road and I the clue is in the title - a few gates / stiles that need to be navigated.  Therefore its not about the time but a case of just having a good solid run.  As this is not a key race I've pretty much been training as normal and in the 6 days preceding the race I had already accumulated 79 miles albeit I ensured there was nothing of intensity beyond Tuesday.  My legs were therefore fairly lethargic but then again they always seem to feel this way more often than not!

Start.

At the off I pretty much did my own thing and immediately took the lead as we skirted a number of football pitches.  Someone hung onto me for 500m but then soon faded as I swung onto a gravel track and then onto various paths.  I felt pretty pacey and knew I was probably going too fast which was more or less confirmed as I completed the first km in 3.16, followed by a 3.18 and then a 3.12.  It was already clear at this point I was going to win so I tried to keep pushing myself but I was also targeting the current course record of 33.57 - so meant I needed to average 3.24 per km.

In the distance.  Courtesy of The Derby Runner.

My legs felt like I was probably around a couple of km further up the course than I actually was so tried to just control the effort slightly, but to no avail as the following km was completed in 3.09 and then followed by 3.16.  I therefore went through half way in about 16.11 so actually only slightly down on my 10k road PB pace!  I was also around 45 seconds ahead of the course record pace so although I knew some stiles were to come I was almost certainly going to beat it.

Half Way.  Courtesy of The Derby Runner.

My legs were starting to get heavy and to be honest at this point I just tried to keep a good tempo going.  This started to show as the 6th km was completed in 3.20, but then came several twists and turns and a probably around 5 stiles or so between then and the finish.  This was also compounded by the course being a lot more grassy and lush which slowed things down.  This resulted in a 3.26, 3.34 and 3.31 km, before the final km was back on a good gravel track and football pitches.  Even though my pace had slowed I knew that I was still well ahead of course record pace until I had the shock that my watch bleeped with a 3.25 km split but there was still a good 180 metres left to the finish!

Looking cool!

Having to get my skates on!

I had to really put my skates on to beat the course record and ended up running the extra bit at 2.51 pace, but I managed to cross the line in 33.52; setting a new course record by 5 seconds!

Finish.

On the whole it was a good race and the course was certainly very varied and enjoyable although a bit of a solo effort.  I must also point out how well marshalled it was as there were multiple opportunities to go the wrong way.  I'm also glad that I wore my sunglasses in a race for the first time as there were loads of flies which otherwise am sure would have ended up in my eyes.

Its difficult to read much into the race time.  The first 5km were certainly very pacey as I was only 11 seconds down on my road 10k pb pace on what was effectively a cross country course.  However, the wheels came off slightly in the second half but much of this was down to the course and the obstacles that had to be negotiated.  All in all, no complaints.

The plan over the next couple of weeks is more or less much of the same and possibly do the Wenlock 7 miles at which point I will need to start the build up to Bournemouth Marathon.

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