I ran this race last year for the first time so you can read all about its history in my post from 2007. Last year the weather was wet (well, after the race anyhow) and this year was quite the opposite - sunny and warm. Now, a Friday night race (it starts at 7:30pm) is an interesting one and not the greatest thing to prepare for (especially after a big lunch and falling asleep on the tube journey home from central London!). Although I’d spent the last 11 days working in Copenhagen (restaurant meals every night isn’t the best preparation either), I did manage to get a few good runs in which I was happy with.
A 7km race is always a strange one to pace - do you treat it like a 5k and then hang on for dear life till the end, or ease off and put the effort in later on. The other problem with a race like this - one with lots of fast runners - is that you’re bound to bound to go fast, so you end up treating it like a 5k nomatter what you do!
So, the race began, I ran hard and sat in a group of fellow runners from Ranelagh Harriers (Chris, Chris, and Johnathan). As I predicted I set off rather quickly (3:30 for the first kilometre, 5:43 for the first mile) but managed to ease off ever so slightly as the race continued. I stayed strong (well, to the best of my ability) and ran through 5km in 18:17, which is the fastest 5km time I’ve done (yet alone in a longer race) since October 2007. Now this is a concern. I was clearly running the race like a 5k, which meant I had to hang on for dear life till the end. Oh dear!
Although my final couple of km’s were my two slowest splits (3:53 and 3:47) they were still rather respectable (in my opinion!). I mentioned earlier that I was in a group of fellow runners from Ranelagh and as we entered the final km I had just edged ahead of them. As I ran towards the finish (which was a most welcome sight!) fellow runner Chris Brook sprinted past me to finish one second ahead of me. I don’t think I could have really found any more and he got me right on the line, so well done mate.
Overall however I was really happy with my run - I finished in 26:44 (average pace of 5:57 per mile) - which was 19 seconds faster that 2007. Before the race I hadn’t expected to run as fast as 2007 but I guess my fitness it right up there. I certainly have not been running as consistently over the past few months but have been doing more swimming and cycling so I guess my overall fitness helped me out. My overall position was 35th out of 517 (last year I was 46th out of 493 finishers). The overall winner came in 22:36, with full results available at the Sport Systems website. I guess I need to train harder!!
I also scored for the Ranelagh Harriers mens team, where we came 3rd male team overall.
I really enjoyed this race and look forward to running it again in 2009.
A final update - after running this race on Friday evening, on Saturday morning (today) it was time for the Bushy Park Time Trial and I ran this pretty hard and finish in 19 minutes dead. I was very happy with this, and looking back to 2007, I ran the BPTT the day after the Wedding Day race in 19:03.