Another one of those, that’s my fifth showing at this event. The busy and super fast, could call it flat? Dewsbury 10k. In sunny February, in what is a glorious venue for one of the fastest road 10k’s that I’ll race this year. It’s no moor top, it’s not quite scenic, with a few pot holes to watch your ankles. But it’s fast, so all of that will go unnoticed anyway.
I first ran Dewsbury in 2014.
39:00, back then.
Definitely didn’t steal this photo
Beating it every year since. Even in 2017, when it measured ever so slightly long; due to a misplaced turning point. It’s slightly uphill on the way out, with the downhill saved for the way back. Highly comparable to the Dunford Express what many of us intrepid Barnsley runners are familiar with. It always attracts a fast enough field too, fast enough to leave you thinking you could’ve done better. But any other 10k you could easily divide your finish place by 10! But it’s still small when likened to the Abbey Dash!
Lately, training has been going well, I’ve struggled to hit massive mile weeks, due to work, but introduced more quality miles to account the difference. Speed work on a Wednesday night has gone from strength to strength. Complimented by the winter track series. So for the short stuff, I’m feeling fit, struggled although with my ankle the week before Meltham and then my knee, either due to the track, rubbish shoes or accounting for my ankle injury and knackering my knee in the process. But still standing and still moving forward. The long stuff is feeling alright, but Dewsbury is a short race, so let’s focus on that for now.
Organising to pick Scott up before the race, hopefully to settle both of our nerves with the guarantee of a pre race chat. I went and got him from home around 7.30 made the short trip through to a quiet car park that soon became rammed! Went to the leisure centre, quick wee and back to the car. Chatted and chilled before going out on a small trot before stretching, limbering and chatting. The whole of Barnsley out in force today, couldn’t turn a corner without a familiar face smiling and saying Hello! 8.40 came around, Scott had previously found poolside so we snuck up there to stay warm and sweat a little bit before heading over to the start line. Seeing again more and more runners. The car park soon got busy anyway! Chatting and buzzing around the start. Ready for this bit of work! Ethan Godridge in the little pocket around me, joined by Simon Lambert, Arron Larkin, Brendan Moody, Lee Milburn. Some fast lads here today.
8.58, toes to the line, quick speech from the organisers and we were off. 8.59 on watch not the advertised 9.00. I knew we were in a for a smash. We set off quick, Scott set off quicker. Soon got free of the packs and found myself punching up and through the herd. Small right under the bridge and dodging a few potholes. Trying so hard to hit top speed and hit some sort of rhythm. Soon finding it and before I noticed the 1k mark I was into it. Then going through the mile split in 5:17. Wow. Targeting sub 34 here, so got to keep it under 5:27. That was the last I looked at watch for the rest of the race, didn’t want to take my eyes off of what was in front of me. Didn’t want to loose focus, just wanted to run.
Like I said, slightly uphill on the way out, so running a negative split isn’t unheard of here for most. It’s easily achievable. I could feel pace slowing with the climb but could also witness myself passing people and sticking with some big hitters. Gregan Clarkson for one. Still focussed and still driving, slowing a bit 1-2; 5:29. Then came the punishment, the torture and the pain. 2-3. All the way to the turn. Fading and dropping, people pulling away from me and struggling to keep up. Couldn’t drive and felt like I was falling, fading. I was thinking this is where my race ends and it becomes a mad dash for the finish. Looking ahead still, trying to keep my head high. Seeing Scott battling it out for 3rd place. Arron Larkin somewhere in the distance in front of me. Hoping for some sort of kick, some drive to move me forwards and keep moving me forwards. Shall I switch to just get round mode? Or shall I hold on and endure? Risk a blowout. Fade away. I saw the lead car coming towards, Scott not too far behind, trying to say keep pushing, but couldn’t squeeze the words myself. Seeing the turn cone. And probably like most today, hearing the 3 beep (5:40) and thinking, is it too far away today? I slowed for the turn, made it and became a new man.
Had a burst of life and energy, spurred by the shouts of Gareth, Penistone, Gaz, keep going, well done, go Team Barnsley. Wanting to reply but couldn’t, knowing Brendan was just in front and Ethan just behind made the downhill sprint home go an awful lot quicker. The cheers of support continued, couldn’t work out if there was a tailwind or headwind. Feeling pushed and feeling a lot more nimble, so thankful for the downhill, as I was ready to crawl! 3-4 was fast, 5:22. And the next two mile I might claim as well paced? When will this pain end, when will I be done. Am I there yet? There’s not much to view in Dewsbury, apart from a few bed shops? Chair shops? Tesco? Car garages? I did see a Ford garage and tried to look for an RS though. The woman who was in first stopped and I swear I heard her calf/Achilles pop, she stretched as I passed her. Rejoined and still finished first, sacrificing her leg and probably running for the next month or so. 4-5 (5:24) and now looking at the KM markers and hoping for the 9k marker. Knowing after that it’s the bridge I need. Ethan passed me, probably at the point I was distracted looking for something interesting to look at. He was running well and looked fast! I tried to catch him for the rest of the mile but couldn’t quite. 9k mark came and so did the 6 mile beep. Another 5:24. Told you, well paced? Nearly home 400 to go hopefully! 10k is actually 6.21 isn’t it? Today was 6.27 on watch, but watches aren’t always right, I know that by now!
Came in and across the line for 17th across the line and 19th place on chip.
A PB by 30 seconds and righting my or the wrongs from last year here.
Sub 34, achieved.
Scott got 32:00 dead, 3rd place. Astonishing at such a well known and fast fielded 10k!
Plenty of others, too many to name them all got PB’s around. What turned out to be perfect conditions on a perfect day. Many of people’s goals met and many new goals set. The Barnsley runners were out in force, it was probably the cheers that saved me today. I wish I could’ve mustered the energy to return them, or that I didn’t have the sun in my eyes!
We hung around for the prize giving afterwards, I’m no camera man and positioning probably let me down.
My splits for the race were.
Heart rate averaged around the 121 mark, so I think that’s a little wrong! As it was a flat out 10k, but saying that cardio wise I didn’t really feel my heart pounding so much.
In other news everyone says the T Shirt looks like penis!
Just Keep Running!