Monday, 21 February 2011

Cupid's 10k-ish dash 13 February 2011

The week commencing 6 February ended with a 10k road race, which I thought would be a good test of fitness. I did this race back in 2009 and was the first time I broke forty minutes for 10km.
I got to the start line area and began to fear for the competency of the race organisation when they told me they had ran out of timing chips. This immediately made me wonder if they had ordered a finite number of chips and when they 'sold out' decided, 'hey let's take people's money regardless of our ability to deliver the service sold, it's no big deal, "sure it's grand"'; that time honoured Irish phrase oftentimes deployed to trivialise and dismiss legitimate concerns. Furthermore distributing the goody bags at the start/registration made me wonder where they thought people were to store these during the race, which ended one mile away from the start line. Consequently, I decided that was a problem I did not need to handle and decided to forego the good bag, which in the main are simply receptacles for advertising.
Surprisingly the race began on time. However, there was no timing mat at the start, so even those with chips were only ever going to get a gun time rather than a nett time. Quite why they bothered with chips at all was now something of a mystery.
Anyway, I should provide some commentary on running and end the rant.
This year we started with a bit of a drag up Acres road and left onto Chesterfield road. I quickly settled into twelfth place, well off the back of the lead back of about eight. Before the second mile elapsed I moved up to tenth place. However, I think I simply gave the two I passed a bit of a 'gee' up as they slowed for me to pass them and they soon passed me again. I completed the first three miles in 06:16, 06:17 and 06:16 respectively; 'there will be no PB today!'
By now I was in thirteenth place again, and as things transpired it would be where I would finish, largely running on my own with a couple of runners 100 yards behind me and the two I earlier interchanged places with about 200 yards ahead.
From here on the course became especially tough, running up and down hills, but the worst was yet to come; the long hard slog up the Kyber pass. This was very tough and you ran up this hill for two-thirds of a mile before doubling back to the finish. This approach made for interesting 'logistics' when larger numbers were coming up and down the hill simultaneously; this combined with the necessity to weave in and out between pedestrians with baby buggies and dogs (some on leashes, some not) made the finishing stretch more like part obstacle course, part game of 'British bulldog'! I was not sure who I was more frustrated with; people's obvious lack of courtesy and respect for the fact that a sporting event was taking place, or the organisers' completely insouciant attitude to it all.
On reaching the finish line I immediately knew, without ever looking at a GPS, that the course was short by at least 100-200 metres when I saw that I came within three seconds of a PB at 38:45. I finished the second three of six mile in 06:19, 06:26 and 06:31. The short nature of the course provided a re-adjusted time of 39:15. Considering the course's difficulty I was reasonably happy with my performance, however, the same could not be said for the organisers'. All in all, a good excuse for a tough workout but I'll not be back.


Kim said...

You should point out that the path going through the Kyber Pass is about 5 ft wide. It was certainly an interesting finish to watch!

Thomas said...

The organisation was just as diabolical in 2010 and 2009.

They also organise a few other highly overpriced events. Time to kick into touch.