So a week after my first 10K in years, I was back at it, this time at my favourite 10K the Leeds Abbey Dash. This was 5th appearance at this race. As I still dispute the Cheshire 10K course and have seen photos of last weeks race with start/finish further away from the large tree that the race had previously started and finished at, only makes me more convinced the old course was short. It means I class the 35:50 I did at Leeds as my actual 10K PB, having set that back in 2017 and equalled it at Hull 10K the following year. This year was a slight but improved course with start moved from Wellington street to the same place as finish out side the town hall. It meant a downhill start but still had the evil sting in it’s tail to finish.
I had just ticked over in between races and having Cheshire still fresh in my mind meant I set my goal this week to simply run faster that Cheshire. Knowing the route helped me come up with a mental plan on how I was going to execute my race. With a 9:30 start it meant a normal get up time and I had breakfast a little later than Cheshire. Always helps pre-race nerves when you know the area, know where to park etc. A 10 minute walk to start help wake me up. Was able to visit toilets without any queues. I then bumped into Jordan who I knew from track group and we did a warm up and chatted about our goals and plans. I then got into my pen and prepared for the crazy start.
We was slowly walked to behind the elite group and before I knew it, the gun went and it was crazy start. It was also very tight it first few hundred meters, Jordan flew past me like a missile, I soon got into a rhythm and knew I needed a good start as the hills would slow me down. we soon was on Kirksall road heading out towards the Abbey and I spent the entire first half the race passing people. It helped as for first few miles I felt really strong. As I simply focused on my next target. The first mile soon came up with a 5:28 perfect start. I wanted a quick one. the next mile was a straight one, with an improved course it was good not to do the section around the retail park. My two miles I had caught Jordan, I could also feel the route beginning to climb as was working hard but pace dropped a little. Basically you start a gradual climb from 1.4 miles and just gets steeper till 2.5 miles then you have a brief recovery as you drop down before a short sharp climb back up to the Abbey. Mile 2 came in 5:37, well under target pace (5:54), I was still doing well and passing over runners right past half way. although the climb took something out of me as never full got back into my stride after the turn, Still mile 3 was 5:48 and was still on for a good time.
Mile 4 is a reverse of mile 3 so you still get a small climb some people bounce of the turn. I have done in the past but this year the field seemed more spread out early and struggled to get under 5:50 again after the small climb in mile 4 but I kept an eye on watch and kept working as hard as body would allow. Seeing Royal Navy runners gave me a lift and a few shouts from runners coming the other way give me pick ups. A 5:53 4 mile meant I just had to be sensible and hold it together for 12 more minutes and was on for a decent time. Wasn’t sure what time but knew I was quicker then the previous week. I found mile 5 a real slog as you can see the viaduct in the distance (which is the 8K mark) and seemed to take an age to get there and then you go under only to realise you still have another 2K to go but this point the head wind had begun to pick up and to be honest mile 5 I should have pushed more but was hanging on by this point, if I’m to go back this is mile that with a downhill section at start is one I can gain the time I need to achieve a faster time. a 5:53 mile meant every mile was faster than the equivalent one from previous race. I was one for a final sub 6 minute mile but the sting in the tail as we go up and over the flyover meant it killed the pace but as soon as I could see finish I gave it everything and hit 5:30/mi as I saw clock ticking over to 36:21. I was spent but I had done it. A quick look at watch said 36:09. So much quicker than previous week and so close to a sub 36. I was chuffed. Jordan finished and greeted me with a big smile on face as he smashed his PB.
After a chat with other runners and collected my medal and water. I headed back to meet family. By time I got to the car my official time had come through in 36:08. I have only gone quicker half a dozen times and only 3 times have I dipped under 36 minutes. So this was a massive personal victory. I know a good winter base and a focus on 10K times next year and I will dip back under 36 and aim for 2022 is to get under then stay under 36 minutes.