This race wasn’t planned, mainly due to the fact I struggle to get to midweek races. I don’t drive so have to rely on people I know racing them. The other week I spoke with Darren about this race but it was still only a maybe. My priority was the mile and then had one eye on a 10k at the weekend. However, Darren let me know he was racing so I entered at the start of the week and would see how it played out.
After realising that I was going to be very tired by Sunday due to it being my daughters birthday on the Friday and we had planned a day trip on Saturday, it would have been foolish to race Sunday. I had really given it 100% the previous night at the mile race but driving up to Todmorden Darren said not to concern myself with time but beating those in my age category. Now most races don’t count men as vets till they are 40 but for Yorkshire Veterans Athletics Association (YVAA) championship races they start at 35. The YVAA organise championship races at 5k, 5 mile, 10k, 10 mile, half marathon and 15 miles. As well as a XC, Fell and Track champs. Now I missed out on the half marathon as it was the same day as the Boston marathon, the 5 mile was on a Thursday night so could not get. The 10 mile is this Sunday and the 10k is next Wednesday. So this race was the only one that I could do. Although I will organise my calendar better next year with these and Northern Vet races taking more of a priority.
It was a right old trek to the race venue. We arrived in plenty of time, picked our numbers up and then did a few laps of the course. The start was ok but then at far end you had a very tight turn back on yourself straight into a strong head wind and then the course for last end of lap was rough under foot and the trees were very low and meant I had to keep ducking to avoiding branches etc. This would prove to be a bottle neck come the race as it was a 5 lap loop. I would by lying if I said I didn’t have a target time. I wanted a 17:xx but it wasn’t to be.
After a good warm up I bumped into Jacob who I knew from Clayton Le Moors and he had done it in the past and said it wasn’t a PB course and was between 30s-40s slower depending on conditions, so that meant a sub 18 would be a good time for me. After listening to instructions it was go time. I set off but straight away legs felt very heavy and I felt tired (which looking back was to be expected I had raced hard night before in hot conditions, it was still warm at race time plus I had just come off medication after a chest infection, so to expect to be at peak 5k racing condition was laughable).
I chased Darren who was soon in top 5 as we made our way to the bottom of the park, I had started well but then the turn you had to almost stop to get round it and pace dropped and then I struggled to get any top end pace as we entered the rough section, I kept it sensible and tried to relax into it but I was finding it tough going as we went through lap 1, as soon as we was back on tarmac my pace picked up but I had dropped a few places but the people who had passed me were either younger then me or from Lancashire so I wasn’t concerned. The watch buzzed for a 5:45/mi which was about 15s off where I’d like to be (that will come with more consistent training).
The second mile was a really mental battle, as it felt strange not having my family there cheering me on and I really struggled to get any pace in my legs, dipping wrong side of 6 mile pace for rest of the race. By now I had dropped to 15th after 2 and half laps and it stayed like that as I chased the leading lady for rest of the race. As I came out for lap 4 I saw wife for the first time and I managed to relax knowing they had come and picked up pace in last lap and really gave it everything I had to cross the line.
I looked at watch and was gutted with my time of 18:34, I’m much better then that and it was my worse road 5k time since 2014! I wasn’t happy but to be honest I could not have given anymore on the course on that night. Now it was a case of waiting to see how results played out. Darren had finished 2nd overall and won his category as well. On live results I was 3rd in my age category, so I was chuffed to get a bronze medal in my first vets championship. However the guys in front, one was from Lancashire and the other was unattached, so this meant I was 1st and had won and was the 2017 V35 5k champion. Now I was chuffed to bits and had done the job I came to do. As Darren said time wasn’t the goal but getting a medal was. However those who know me will know that I wont rest till I’ve put in a good 5k road time, thankfully there are plenty coming up over next few months to get it right, as my goal is still to go sub 17 at some point. Firstly though need to get my 5k time back to sub 17:30 on a regular basis. I’ve since become a 2nd claim member of Northern Masters AC, allowing me to compete in more V35 category races, as means I can race but focus on position rather then time at these races.
Want to thank Darren for the lift and for my family for coming to support me.
- 1st V35 in 18:33
Kit used in race
- Zeon Lightweight Race Vest
- Zeon 6 inch Racing Shorts
- Adidas Adios 3 racing flats
- Sockmine lighweight Griplock running socks
- Garmin 220