Sunday morning saw a welcome break in London Marathon training as I joined a big squad of Harriers heading to Strathclyde Park for the annual Tom Scott 10 Mile Road Race. This would be my first time around the long standing event on the Scottish Racing calendar and I was looking forward to testing out the legs on the road after a winter of marathon training and cross-country. It was also great to see a few Runbetweeners both taking part (some in Harriers vests) and spectating around the course offering welcome encouragement.
Dropping down to 10 miles after a series of 18 to 21 milers over the last few months meant I could ditch the gels, water and bulky trainers for the trusted saltire vest and luminous racing shoes. Feeling faster already I even managed a pb before the start line as I clocked a 2 mile warm up with the ‘fast boys’. I usually use the first section of a race to warm up but I definitely noticed a looseness in the legs during the first mile that meant I was able to hit the ground running.
Looping towards the top of the Loch to begin with I was amazed how much shifting there was in the pack with runners moving forwards and backwards – this might have been down to the ‘gun time’ only policy forcing a lot of runners near the front of the pack on the start line. I seemed to have gauged it about right and settled in to a small pack as we made our way through the woods before working our way down the opposite side of the Loch.
Around this point the field thinned and I was focused on maintaining an even pace. The target was 6-45s. This would give an indication I was in good shape a few weeks out from London. Staying within this pace felt reasonably good and I reached the water station at 3 miles feeling pretty strong as evidenced by my glamour shot below.
Taking my usual race approach I started to pick up the pace in the middle section and started moving up the field. I always find this a good boost to my confidence and find the focus of catching each runner a good diversionary tactic.
Rounding the corner and switching back on to the main road I felt strong through mile 4 (a long gradual uphill climb – my Hill Running grounding is pretty helpful at times like this) and passed some familiar faces before latching on to the back of a passing Garscube Harrier who I had passed around mile 3. It was clear he was running comfortably and had decided to push the pace on a bit so from mile 5 onwards the speed gradually increased to a little over 6 minute miling. This would be closer to my 5k pace after almost 10k in the miles but I felt in good shape so went with it.
The course retraces the first miles between miles 5-6 before completing a full loop of the Loch towards the finish line. Pleasingly the pace felt pretty good during these miles until around mile 8 when my legs began to feel heavy – unsurprising given a 21 miler only a few days before and a reasonably paced tilt at Pollok the day before. Being able to see the finish so close across the Loch led to an uncomfortable watch check as I clocked that I still had more than 2 miles to go. Head down I was determined to keep the pace and dragged on by my new found pacemaker I was able to sustain it with a slight tailwind.
Exiting the small wood for the last time my pacemaker put the foot down and pushed on leaving me flying solo down the home straight. With just over a mile to go at this point I decided to aim for around 1k to go before picking up the pace one last time – the increase on tired legs led to an uncomfortable final few minutes but I was determined not to be passed.
I crossed the line in a little over 63 minutes, averaging 6-20s for the whole run setting not only a 10 mile PB (not hard as my only other 10 miler was around the hills of the Kyles 10 Miles) but an improvement of 8 seconds on my 10k PB during the race and 4 minutes quicker than I had targeted at the start of the race. A baw hair outside the top 100 in a very, very quick field so plenty to draw me back to this one next year. Hopefully The Boy will finally be injury free too so that he can mount a challenge after today’s run confirmed me as champion in the mini-league runbetweeners section of the winter championships.
A definite focus for the year will be to take a bigger chunk off my 10k time once London is out of the way.
Thanks as always to the marshals and organisers.