As I’ve mentioned previously both on my blog and social media, training has been going well recently but this year with one thing or another I’ve hardly done any track sessions. Recently either I’ve had midweek races or the track has been closed. I’m a firm believer that if you want to get faster then you need a weekly track session. I think once I get these back into my routine on a regular basis, I should see more improvement. I will go more into detail regarding how training went in my May recap blog post. However, I was asked by Manchester Harriers to run the 5000m in their next league meeting. Since joining them as 2nd claim last year, they’ve been really welcoming and supportive, so I said yes.
However, I didn’t want my first track race to be 5000m. I originally planned on going to Cleethorpes on bank holiday and do the 3000m but the weather meant it would be a wasted trip as it was wet and windy. I then missed the entry for the 1500m at Loughborough on Wednesday night. I could’ve entered on the night but it was first come first serve with a maximum of 10 people. So was a long way to go to risk not even racing and at £15 it was a ridiculous amount to pay. Thankfully Barnsley AC was hosting their annual 800m club champs at Cudworth and allowed guests to take part. Now I’m not and never will be a 800m specialist but I can still say I won a silver medal in the distance. You have to go hard in first lap but have enough left to sustain it for a further lap.
I had previously set my PB at the Northern Masters Track Champs last September running a 2:17.7 however I think everyone who ran that day said they were generous in the times. Going into Wednesday night I didn’t know what to aim for. It also depended on who would be racing as track racing can be hard work if you are on your own. Looking at training and knowing I had no track speed I said to the wife I would be happy with anything under 2:30.
Having made the short journey to the track, paid my track fee and picked my number up. I did a good warm up, drills and strides. I then saw Mark Havenhand who I know is a good runner and runs around my times, so gave me optimism it would be a decent race. Our race was the first of the heats. Going from quickest to slowest. No lane starts instead we all lined up on the 400m mark. I knew I needed a good start, was a simple on your marks, set, go! and we were off. I was soon in a pack of 4 runners going down the back straight. In front was 3 early pace setters, followed by the pack I was in. I felt good as I chased them. Knowing anything under 70s was good for me, based on everything.
I didn’t want to get past anyone and then have them all tear arse past me on 2nd lap. So I tucked in and allowed myself to draft. I hit the 400m in 65s and unlike back in September I didn’t die on next lap. I had a little wobble on top bend but then felt I could go again. So I started to close gap on the two in front, as we hit 200m to go it was an all out sprint to the line. I gave it everything coming down the home straight however, the two in front just did enough to hold me off. To give you an idea of how close it was. The first 3 ran 2:00.7, 2:01.1 and 2:01.4. Then the pack of 4 that included Mark ran 2:12.4, 2:14.0, 2:14.6 and 2:15.0.
So while I finished 7th in 2:15.0 I was very happy to not only run a personal best by 2.7s but I also feel it was my best ever 800m race in terms of how I raced it. Looking back I gave it everything but I still think I could run faster if as I’ve said I can get regular track sessions in. Would be awesome if I could get below 2:10 but 800s are not races I would opt over other distances. At the moment I think I’ve only got one other 800m planned this year. The good thing is, it gave me the track race I needed and filled me with confidence going into Sunday’s 5000m race.