Last week was the annual Manchester Mile, hosted by my club Manchester Harriers. It was the first time I took part as a club member. Last year had I been a member I would have been the fastest Harrier. However, this year there was more heats than last year and a stacked field. While I would be telling a fib that I didn’t have one eye on being the fastest Harrier on the night, I knew Ed and Roco had both entered and both had run very fast miles so I knew it was a tough ask. The race was always about the elusive sub 5 minute mile. I had done it unofficially and ran sub 5 pace in 800m and 1500m races but never in an official mile race.
Having done sub 5 pace at the 1500m the previous week at Trafford, I had a pacing plan. I will apologise now to Sarah as I was wound up like a coiled spring and could not relax. I wanted it so bad and knew I was in form. What didn’t help was the wind and it was very windy last week and having done the warm up and watched earlier heats I knew the wind was down the home straight.
I found I was in heat 9 of 10 but didn’t get there till heat 6 started so I didn’t have to wait long. After catching up with a few runners before hand. I went through split plan with Sarah. We had a system in place to make sure I nailed it. We was lined up and it was go time. It was a strong field with everyone aiming for lower 4:50’s I soon found myself at the back of the lead pack as we ran the first lap, I found myself running a little too relaxed. As I came through the first lap, Sarah yelled at me to pick it up. I had run first lap in 74s when I wanted a 72. She told me to run my own race, I then stepped out and went to the front. I pulled it back on 2nd lap coming through in 2:25 bang on target. I continued to hold the lead on lap 3 as I knew it was the vital lap coming through at the bell in 3:41. It was on the back straight as others decided to kick, after letting me basically be a pace setter for two laps. I wasn’t bothered as I was giving it everything right until the line. My watch had 4:56 on it. I knew I had done it and was over the moon. It helped a lot knowing my splits. As it allowed me to adjust during the race. I also know I can go faster in better conditions.
I watched the final heat while I waited for my official time. I ended up 4th fastest Harrier on the night. With 3 others running quicker on the night. I was given an official time of 4:55.73 and 6th in my heat. I was over the moon as it’s a long term goal of mine and now means I can push on to lower that time even further. It also put me in the top 10 in the UK in my age category. The race was also good tactically and the lessons I learnt was used at the weekend and hopefully will be used in future races.