On a very busy racing weekend, team EAC’s women put on a great show in Glasgow in the Women’s 10k. We took two of the podium places and (yet to be officially confirmed) were first team, in a great show of the strength and depth in our squad. And all this on a wild, latterly wet day when the temptation to stay in bed for an extra hour was very hard to resist!
After several disrupted weeks training with major personal ‘stuff’ going on, I was somewhat apprehensive on the morning of the race. And had absolutely no idea how I was going to perform, so this was always going to be an interesting outing. To add to the sense of anticipation, 2012 was the 20th Anniversary race, celebrated by concentrating on Scottish runners. i.e. all the elite runners invited were from Scottish clubs, so it was wide open without any Kenyans, Ethiopians or even runners from English clubs in the field.
The elite field gathered early at the School of Sport at Bellahouston Academy, with a palpable atmosphere of anticipation. A few folks were trotting around the track in the wind, getting warmed up early. I was keeping my adrenaline in check and waited till 40 mins to go before having a potter round with Hester Dix and doing some light mobilising.
It was only a very short trot round to the start line and you could hear the PA and crowds from the academy. This built to a definite buzz and a real sense of excitement. Although I was in typical pre-race uncommunicative state, it was good to see Niamh and Vik and Sharyn at the start, plus some of the EAC guys super supporters.
Without much preamble, all too soon we were lined up, off and running. Freya Murray and Susan Partridge shot off together and had opened a very obvious gap even by the first corner. Interestingly, no one else in the following pack seemed to be keen to take up the running. Perhaps they all had the same strategy as me, to sit in the group for the first 3-4km and get into their running before making a move. And that’s just exactly what I did. For once, I used someone else as a wind shield and just sat behind Hester, aware that there was a good group of other runners just behind.
The kilometre markers seemed to come thick and fast. As did the bands – loads of them, everything from bagpipes, to brass bands, to steel bands and much more. Brilliant, and all added to the atmosphere. Having put no pressure on myself to perform, I was having an absolute blast. And whilst I was concentrating, I most definitely acknowledged the fantastic support (especially from team EAC) and gave all the bands a big thumbs up.
After 3km I could sense the pack had thinned out and hit the front of the group, unfazed by heading into the blustery wind as we ran around the outside of Pollock Park. Up till shortly after 7km, Hester and I regularly swapped places at the front of the group, but I was feeling strong and in control. The course contains a reasonable amount of twists and turns and even several smallish hills. It was on the most significant of these that Joasia Zakrzewski (fresh from victory at last weeks Edinburgh to North Berwick race) showed her hand. Having been close by the whole time, she skipped through up the hill and we continued to run together until after the 8km mark. Shortly before this, a large deer had bounded across the path in front of us. Amazing in a city park with loads of people around!
Deciding it was time to test myself, I started to wind the pace up a little at around 8.5km, didn’t look back and resolutely pressed on. No response… Excellent. I began to feel confident that third place really was going to be mine. Crossing the motorway and making the final turn to the finish line I pushed some more and gave everything which I had left. I had to make an early move as my top end speed has yet to return after ignoring it for several weeks!
Ecstatic I crossed the line to take the third place and first over 35 to find Freya and Susan waiting and cheering us all on. I watched the group behind finish. Which included Niamh back on great form and Vik valiantly delivering for the team despite having almost dropped out with a nasty stitch. Then I promptly fell apart and spent most of the next ten minutes sobbing.
I don’t know how they decide who is invited onto the elite list, but despite very valid lobbying from Garry, Vik and Niamh weren’t on it. Which very unfairly meant they had to continue through the main finish funnel as I went off to collect my bag and shelter in the hospitality tent. This had a great view of the finish line. I managed a quick cooldown, two small cups of tea and one small pastry before the presentations.
Two big bunches of flowers, trophies and about a million photographs later and we were done. Ian Beattie came over and introduced himself before two speeches from the Mayor (I think) and the Ignis (the sponsors). There was a very appetising hot and cold buffet ready to be served after this. Sadly though, we had come through in a City Car Club car and needed to get it back, so had to head off hungry into the rain. Not recommended for recovery! Especially as we had an extra 15 mins walk to get back to the car when we discovered that the side entrance to Bellahouston Academy had been locked and we had a long detour around to get to the front to make our escape.
Lessons learnt? Endurance speed is fairly durable. Work out a strategy and stick to it. Believe in yourself, relax and you can achieve a massive amount.
Garry has already posted the EAC results, but full results can be found on http://www.chipresults.co.uk/Default.aspx?event=2012Womens10K