A Very Windy “Round the Houses 10k” in Grangemouth
Report by James Mittra
Grangemouth might not be the most scenic of venues for a 10k, but with great organisation and a flat, fast circuit, it attracts a lot of competitive runners. I ran this race last year (my first ever 10k) and was looking forward to seeing how I would do this year having substantially built up my training over the past few months and recently improving on my 5k and 10 mile times. I was hoping to go under 36 minutes for the first time, but with a forecast of strong winds, I was prepared to lower my expectations. I arrived at the course at 11am and warmed up at 11:40am, mistakenly thinking the race started at noon. Unfortunately, the actual start time was 12:30pm. Lesson, always check the race time! There is nothing worse than being all warmed up and ready to race, then having to wait another half hour. I think I momentarily panicked Niamh Devlin when I told her the race was scheduled for noon, so I apologise profusely for that.
Anyway, the forecasters had been right. It was very windy in Grangemouth, but thankfully it was dry and not too cold. I felt quite good going into the race and planned to run mainly by feel rather than the clock. At 12:30 we were off. The first part of the course is a 1km straight, and we thankfully had a strong tailwind for this part of the race. The front runners shot off into the distance, and I went through the first km in around 3:23. With the tailwind, it felt easy. Then we hit the awful headwind, which was with us for the next 3 km. My pace dropped quite a bit, and I just tried to tuck in behind other runners where possible, although I always seemed to end up behind shorter people that didn’t provide much of a wind break, although it was nice to just switch off and follow their rhythm. Of course, it’s easy to switch off too much sometimes and find you’re not pushing enough. Just after 4km, the course breaks to the left and we had some rather nice crosswinds to contend with. I passed through the 5km mark in around 18:24, but was feeling quite tired. I pushed a bit on the 6th km to lose a couple of runners and did that in a respectable 3:31, but the 7th and 8th km took us a long a boring stretch of road alongside the motorway and I found this part of the race mentally tough. There must have been a tailwind for this part of the course, but I certainly didn’t feel it! I also got a slight stitch at the 7km mark, which didn’t help matters. It wasn’t severe, but enough for me to lose a bit of focus. I got passed by a couple of runners at this point and really just wanted the race to end. But once we reached the 8km point I seemed to get some of my mojo back. I pushed again to reach the people who had passed me (9th km ran in 3:36) and just held steady behind them until the last 400 metres when I finally passed them and then sprinted for the line when we entered the stadium for the finish. I stopped my watch at 36:56 and my gun time ended up being 37:04. So I was a few seconds slower than last year but content with the performance. Hopefully my next 10k will be a lot less windy so I can have another go at a sub 36 or at least a PB.
I met up briefly with Roy, Niamh and Adam at the finish and enjoyed the Mars bar in my race pack! Much better than the bananas and dried fruit you find in some “goodie” bags! The Shettleston Harriers easily won the 1st team place, with 4 of their runners in the top 6. Tsegezeab Woldemichael was the men’s winner. He didn’t run sub 30 as he did last year, but still ran a stunning 30:28! Our own Neil Thin also ran a fantastic 33:20 to take 1st place in the MV45 category. Full EAC results below. Overall, an enjoyable, albeit windy, race with a great grandstand finish. Would highly recommend it.
18. Neil Thin: 33:20 (gun); 33:17 (chip) – 1st MV45
44. Adam Priestley: 35:49 (gun); 35:48 (chip)
60. James Mittra: 37:04 (gun); 36:56 (chip)
85. Roy Mitchell: 38:44 (gun); 38:35 (chip)
76. Niamh Devlin: 38:25 (gun); 38:21 (chip) – 5th female senior
90. Susan Ridley: 39:12 (gun); 39:07 (chip) – 1st F40
164. Lyndsey Fraser: 42:47 (gun); 42:30 (chip) – 13th female senior