After opening the season with a marginal 2 second PB winning the Good Friday Open Meeting 3000m and a fairly respectable 15:59.9 5000m at the British Milers Club 5000m race over the past month or so hopes for a really fast race were low but buoyed unexpectedly with a 4:11, 9 second PB over 1500m on Wednesday at the Oxford University Cuppers for second place.
Entering the 10,000m (25 laps of the track) at the British University Championships on the basis of existing personal bests I was switched at the last moment to the B race 8 hours later. Despite this I tried to stay positive over the day and was hoping to break 33 minutes for 10km for the first time and lower my 33:16 PB.
The race started off with a Sheffield University lad breaking for the front very quickly and gaining a 20m lead over the field with myself sitting in 4th place behind a Southampton and Cambridge athlete. As we gradually reeled in the Sheffield athlete I was feeling remarkably relaxed and actually couldn't quite believe the splits that were coming as the Sheffield athlete was caught and tucked in behind us. The track was quite windy but thankfully I was well sheltered by the other athletes but not for long!
As we went through 5000m in 16:10 I couldn't believe quite how relaxed I felt (many Tuesday runs have felt much harder!). I coudl feel the pace slow as the Southampton athlete tired and when I heard my coach call out that the last lap took 81 seconds as opposed to the 77s we had been clipping through I knew I had to move at the 6000m mark. Moving with a sudden injection of speed I lowered the pace down to 73/74 second laps with a 7th kilometre of 3:07 to put myself clear of the field with the Cambridge athlete attempting to stay with me but dropping backwards. As I pulled clear I knew I had to keep pushing and despite now tackling the wind entirely on my own and having to run hard. Consistent 77 second laps gave me hope that despite struggling meant I knew I had a chance of a good time. With a half lap lead by the end I managed to sprint the final 100m for a time of 32:15- a one minute and one second PB over my best ever time before and for the win in the B-race! My time inserted into in the A-race would have put me in 9th place (the field was 21 strong) of all British Universty 10,000m runners and it is perhaps worth noting that some of the athletes in that race were substantially older than me (the winner was 31!).
Overall the time last year would have put me in the top 50 in the country and top 5 Under 23s though obviously many top runners don't run 10,000m on the track. In conclusion I'm very pleased - especially with a negative split of 16:10/16:05 and for managing to win by a commanding margin.
Best wishes to all!
National Final (Do I really have to mention the B?) Winner Bryn :D.
(Still on a bit of a high!)If I find a photo will post it up!