I finished off a very, very successful June with a fantastic time at Heslington parkrun. This past week was a cut back week, so after 3 weeks of 70 miles each week and a host of short races, I wanted to post a fast parkrun time. I had the MT champs the following day but I knew the course was tough and the conditions would be a huge issue with it hitting the late 20’s come race start. So I decided to break one of my golden rules which was to race back to back. I was aiming to do York but it was off due to the horses taken over for weekend. So I decided to do Heslington again and then we carried on to Scarborough for a day out.
I arrived in plenty of time, which was good as I have been testing banana, honey on toast and both times I found it’s not agreed with me as been looking at other options to porridge as milk takes a good 3/4 hours to settle in my stomach if I want to race, any sooner and its a trip to the loo. After two loo visits I lined up on the cycle track and got chatting to other runners. Then Tom who I knew from my old club Striders rocked up. Now he is a regular sub 17 runner, so straight away my goal was to give him a good race. Another runner asked if anyone was aiming for sub 17, to which Tom said hopefully and I said I would not be far behind. So we settled on working together to drag ourselves to a quick time. After what seemed to be drawn out announcements it was go time.
I took the bull by the horns and got out in front early on, with aim to clock a 5:2x for first mile. However soon after first bend Tom and the eventual winner Tom Thomas took lead. I decided to try and stick with them as we looped around the cycle track. As we exited I did the good deed of telling them the turns coming up as we exited the track and hit the road. I was sat in 3rd with Tom doing the early work as we made our way along the road. I felt good as the watch buzzed. 5:14 shit! that was too fast but at the same time I aim to do 3 miles at this. All 3 of us slowed in the second mile. I continued to stay close to them two as much as possible and it was close as we got to the turn around point. It was at this point Tom Thomas pulled away from the other Tom as the second mile came to a close I started to close the gap on second place, the watch buzzed for 5:33. Bang on target for second mile. It was just a case of not falling apart in last mile. At the time I knew if I could post a 5:4x I was on with a sub 17 and I knew I had to keep an average pace at 5:30.
The road back to the track though was a drag. It was in to a bit of a headwind and I was feeling the heat but I had caught Tom and we was now battling for second place as we came down and back into the track. The positions kept swapping and we both struggled as we both got taken by another runner who finished strongly. Looking back I need to really push harder on the final K as I was still on target till I hit the track but as we looped round. Tom pulled away and out kicked me to finish 3rd and I was a few seconds being in 4th place. My official time was 17:09. A massive improvement on Bakewell two weeks ago where John Broom said that Bakewell was worth 30s and he was spot on. It was my fastest parkrun since New Years Eve 2016 but it was at Stretford, both times I’ve done a fast time I’ve clocked 2.9 miles. So for me this felt like a proper PB. I think I paid the price for going too fast in the first mile as my splits showed but it does mean if I can get pacing right a sub 17 is on the cards. The next chance comes a week on Wednesday at the Doncaster 5k. I’d loved to do it at the venue of my first ever official 5k race back in 2013.
It meant it June I had set a season best or personal best at 9 races in a row and it meant my 8th straight sub 18 5k time. Consistency is so important if you want to improve.