After taking a bit of a step back from “racing” following some disappointing (to me!) times, I have been choosing my events very carefully – shunning the majority of popular races. I took part in the Clive Cookson 10k in 2017, gaining a PB over the distance of 56:04. I felt it was time to give this another try, having not completely hated it the first time.
I love this race. It is so underrated. A two 5k lap course with the first 2km on a very gradual (but noticeable, particularly on the second lap) climb, rewarded with some lovely gradual down, through country lanes and then housing estates… The support is fantastic for such a small event – very few places on the course where there is nobody cheering you on. I think there were maybe 10 striders in attendance, not that I saw many of them because they were all the speedy ones who would have already left the carpark by the time I had done the first lap. It always amazes me that more Striders don’t attend this race – this year it was even a GP fixture!!
My aim for this race was a PB, which I guess is usually your aim if you are entering a race. My 10k time stood at 54:09 from Tees Pride in 2017. Lots of calculations and looking at the last time I ran it to try and establish what pace I should be attempting to run at to get in under 54 minutes. It seemed crazy that I would need to run 5:22km average pace for 10kms – training runs have been much much slower over shorter distance and I had always convinced myself that couldn’t be good. Nevertheless, I turned up, managed to pin my number on in the most crooked fashion yet, then got to the start.
I started quite near the back, as I knew we would start the climb straight away and “don’t go off to fast” rings in my ears. On a chipped course, I like to start quite far back, as the ability to pass people works wonders for my confidence. I soon realised that I was passing people (even uphill) but nobody was passing me – this instantly gave me my focus – don’t let anyone pass you. I kept this up for most of the race, losing only 2 places around the 7k mark (both to men, so I wasn’t too bothered), but it wasn’t made easy for me! A Derwentside AC runner was on my shoulder, pushing hard to pass me around 6k, but I kept my focus and she dropped back – more confidence!! My km times were good – except for the 2kms uphill, they had all been well under target.
The confidence felt amazing – I felt strong, my legs were fine and at no point did I feel I wanted to stop. My brain was kind to me, and never once uttered “you need to stop Jo, you’re tired and rubbish” which is normally loves to do! I was even high-fiving kids and there are pictures of me smiling. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough…
Around 9k, I was catching a lady in front of me – she was running well but I knew I only had a km to go so I pushed on and passed her. Clearly more familiar with the course, she zoomed past me with about 600m to go – this was so frustrating after my “don’t let anyone pass you” mantra. Luckily the absence of our beloved track sessions hadn’t removed my ability to kick and with shouts of encouragement from Matt, I made up the gap and finished 12s in front of her! With a new PB of 53:16.
If you’ve never tried this race – put it in your diary for next year.
|Position||Bib||Name||Club||Category||Category Position||Net Time|
|1||501||Gus Withers||Gateshead Harriers & AC||MSEN||1/75||32:11:00|
|45||314||Tracy Millmore||Birtley AC||FV35||1/30||37:55:00|
|3||233||Stephen Jackson||Elvet Striders||MV35||1/44||33:08:00|
|26||272||Michael Littlewood||Elvet Striders||MV40||7/46||36:34:00|
|28||207||Georgie Hebdon||Elvet Striders||MSEN||13/75||36:54:00|
|72||379||Allan Renwick||Elvet Striders||MV50||4/34||39:23:00|
|95||448||Emma Thompson||Elvet Striders||FV35||3/30||40:58:00|
|160||78||Matthew Carr||Elvet Striders||MV40||27/46||43:40:00|
|204||197||Peter Hart||Elvet Striders||MV40||38/46||45:33:00|
|217||487||Corrine Whaling||Elvet Striders||FV35||10/30||46:16:00|
|297||75||Karen Byng||Elvet Striders||FV50||6/19||50:51:00|
|335||347||Joanne Patterson||Elvet Striders||FV35||20/30||53:16:00|