So yesterday morning I was off to Victoria Park Race Track for the return the SARRC Derby Dash, albeit at a new location. The race was 5 laps of a 5k course, first crossing over the horse race track onto a gravel path and then down and around the car race track grid straight and past the pits before heading off through the parklands surrounding with a little 500m out and 500m back section halfway through the loop and back again along footpaths and dirt tracks. It was a great little loop with lots of varied terrain. It was a bit of a novelty to be constantly passing people of each different run/walk length and be passed by others, including being lapped by the first 20 or so 25k runners, instead of just living a lonely isolated life out on the course.
I arrived nice and early, without a very good prep the day before, to register and then stood around in the freezing early morning waiting for the start. I drank half a bottle of gatorade and had a brief chat with Rundave and one of my former Uni Lecturers who I last saw at the Carissbrooke classic.
Just as the sun was peeping over the horizon and through some clouds it was time to start and off we went. I started out at a very comfortable place. I have been in enough of these now that I can recognise a few of the runners (especially the ones that normally go out a lot faster than me and who I eventually overtake in the later stages). Today I was back to my old tricks and started out at 6:30min.km pace. I kept that up for most of the first lap with a 5k split of 31:10, not bad, I wanted to run marathon pace of 6min. On the next lap I lifted the pace a little as half-way around I had the urge for number 1’s, but the parklands were beginning to fill up with everyone from model plane flyers, dog walkers, general excercises to peddle car teams from local schools. I started to slowly catch some people who had passed me early on the first lap as I tried to get around to the toilet which was a couple of hundered metres past the start/finish line. The second 5k split was 29:28. giving 1:00:38 for the 10k, right on pace. After a brief pitstop I then had to pass some of those people again (including the 25k winners 75 yr old father) and upped the pace, the winner was coming up to pass me by half way around that lap and Rundave too, who was in fifth and looking good for fourth.
Around we went again, and I caught a runner at the 18k mark who I distinctly remember catching at the 18k mark of the Greenbelt half marathon. My pace had lifted up another gear and I started to build momentum. On the out and back section half way around the course I saw the Uni lecturer, teased him a little about having not lapped me yet and then increased my workload. He was probably less than a k behind with 2.5k to go and by jingos I was not going to let him lap me, had a look over back down the course after turning a bend with about a k to going and he had at least halved the distance, it was going to be close. 300m from the finish I looked back, he was 100m behind…I sprinted…”You bastard” he yelled out from behind…but he didn’t lap me and the Race Director had to ask me if I was finishing, I shook my head as I drew in a few big breathes and reduced my pace. I had now run 20k in about 1hr56mins, a bit quicker than the planned marathon pace but still it was a decent hit out so might as well keep going.
The last lap target was a mid 40s lady with purple running tights on…it took me 3k to run her down, but I got there in the end and even ran down the lady in-front of her, who must have been dying fast because she was well in-front at the out and back section. Crossed the finish line in 2hr23mins happy, especially with my pace over those last two laps, my quads were sore, but I kept pushing hard and feel I could have done at least another lap, if not two. And all this with only water during the race…I might be able to do this marathon thing after all.
This was a great event, nice location, well organised, and I really enjoyed it with no niggles to speak of. Now for the River Run 30k event in a month.