The Stoke 10k. What a strange little race it was, certainly from a personal perspective. On one hand, the race was very well organised, slick and efficient. For a first time event it was as smooth as one could reasonably expect. On the other, the atmosphere seemed strangely subdued. This may have been have been just my own experience but it seemed a little flat. For me, too many people run in MP3 players these days and it takes away some of the camaraderie that you share with your fellow competitors before, during and after the race. Maybe this played a part but there was little buzz about Hanley Park as the runners got ready to race. Possibly it was due to the early start time of the race. I doubt it but who knows.
562 runners lined up on the start line for the inaugural event. I expected more, closer to 1000 and the organisers probably did too. The cost was quite high for a 10k. Not prohibitive but I paid nearly £18 including fees, more than I paid for the Potters Arf.
The overall standard wasn’t as high as I’d expected. My time of 44:57 was my worst ever time over the distance by nearly a minute and a half but it was still good enough to get me a 53rd placed finish which was very surprising. I think that I was still suffering from the after effects of the virus I had last month. I am well over the virus itself but haven’t had enough time to build my stamina back to what it was before the tonsillitis.
I managed the first 5k in 21 minutes, roughly what I would expect for half marathon distance and below. The difference was that whilst I could normally maintain sub 7min/mile pace for 10k fairly comfortably, in this race I was shot after 2 miles. My race stamina was way below par, due to a lack of good tempo runs of late. I had little in my legs to get me round the flat(ish) course in anything approaching the time I know that I am capable of. I should never have entered the race in the first place. I knew that I was cutting it fine in terms of building up a decent fitness base and thought that I could just run the time on mental strength alone. How wrong you can be.
I didn’t hang around at the end out of sheer embarrassment in my time and even forgot to take my tag off although the organiser will be glad to know that it has been posted since.
So, not a race to remember from a personal standpoint and not one I’ll look back on with any great pride but I hope it’s not the first and last running of the event. The course had plenty of PB potential but was still tough enough to be a challenge. I hope word of mouth helps it to grow in the future as it deserves to be a success. Spectators were thin on the ground outside of Hanley Park but you expect that in and around Hanley at 9am on a Sunday morning.
In spite of my bad day at the office, I would do it again and will recommend it to others.
My splits (highlighting my struggle in the second half) were as follows:
1 – 6:46
2 – 6:51
3 – 7:04
4 – 7:39
5 – 7:14
6 – 7:49
6.2 – 1:35 (7:07 pace)
10k – 44:57