The third instalment of the East Midlands Grand Prix series was our home race, the Rugby 6. It’s a fairly straight forward route, almost a square, so upon arriving early I decided to drive round it to get a feeling of how difficult it might be. There were a few hills, but nothing quite as big as the one endured at Blisworth, so I had relatively high hopes.
Prior to the race, I spoke to one of the more experienced runners of the club who said simply “fast first mile, then dig in.”
It was one of the most bizarre starts to a race I had ever witnessed. Somewhere around 500 Runners were lined up on the path on both sides of the road before someone shouted “ready?” This prompted a marshall in hi viz to step into the middle of the road and hold his hand up to stop the traffic, followed by the aforementioned 500 runners piling into the middle of the road for the start. After a 3, 2, 1 and go, everyone set off, heading down the middle of the road for around half a mile before turning off onto a country lane. You could see there were a few fed up drivers.
My fellow club member was correct, a fast first mile indeed, 7:00. The second wasn’t particularly slow either, 7:20, but then I hit the hilly section. All in honesty, I probably took the hills a bit too steady, losing time in the progress. Miles 3, 4 and 5 were up, down, up as I posted two 8:00 minute miles either side of a 7:20.
Coming out of the country section brought us back onto the main road and a long, flat section to the finish. It was at this point that I realised just how much I had saved in the tank. I always think that if you can manage a sprint finish, then you’ve left too much on the rest of the course. If you’ve really gone for it during the race, there will be nothing left in the legs for a sprint finish.
Anyway, I put my foot down for the last mile, not quite a spring finish, but certainly an injection of pace. The last mile was completed in 7:09, with the last kilometre being 4:17. Quicker than the majority of the race. Finishing time = 44:56. Still slower than the pace I enjoyed at Silverstone and I had hoped for maybe a minute quicker. I truly believe that I didn’t push myself enough through the hilly, country section of the course. Shame really.