Sunday, 1 March 2015

Port Sunlight 5k and 10k

First BTR race of the year today.  Well races, a 5k and then a 10k.  I decided to do all 15 BTR races this year and so ended up doing the two races today back to back.  I was pretty excited to go because BTR events are great and there's always lots of people there that I've met by signing up for this year's Tour of Merseyside.  I've never attempted two races in a weekend before (unless you count parkrun the day before a race) and so I was a bit scared about how I'd cope and if I'd make if through both races.  Now that i'm in a vet category (the only good thing about getting older) I get an extra minute for club copper standards so the plan was to take advantage of the chipped 5k to get a standard and then plod the 10.  The whole purpose of doing both races was to get used to running on tired legs to get me ready for the tour and then Disney and so I'd already ran over 40 miles in the week.

James and the dog took me to Port Sunlight, which made the whole morning a lot easier,
BTR Port Sunlight t-shirts, medals & goody bags
normally have to try and get a lift or figure out public transport.  We got there as planned around 9.  There was four car parks available for runners, each car park had marshalls pointing you in the right direction, it was free and we had a map to walk the few minutes to the start area so everything was made as easy as possible for us.  Managed to use the porta loo (first person to use it so very clean) and collect the goody bags and t-shirts before going for a group photo of everyone doing both races.  Afterwards I found a very under used toilet in the museum that had no queue.  Organisation was fantastic.

BTR Port Sunlight Route
I've never been to Port Sunlight before, it's a very pretty village.  It was built in the 1880's to accommodate the workers of Unilever who sponsored today's races.  The course, which is ran once for the 5k and twice for the 10, goes through the centre of the village past some very nice buildings and lots of nice green areas as well as a pretty cool fountain.  There are a couple bits where you run down a road to turn round and run back which get a bit monotonous but overall it's a good course.  There are a couple of minor hills but because of how flat the course is it probably makes them seem a lot worse that they are (especially on the third lap).

BTR Port Sunlight Elevation
The 5k started at 10am.  I ended up quite close to the back so spent the first few minutes weaving through people to get to where I could run a decent pace.  I could feel the miles from the rest of the week instantly.  It felt like I was going very slow and my pace was going up and down a lot. I was aiming for under 27 minutes so needed to be around 8:40/miles but was fluctuating quite a bit so wasn't exactly sure of my time.  After the first mile i could see the lovely Derek Ralphs, who I ran Rhyl with, and some other tourists in the distance so I decided to gradually try to catch them.  I stuck with them for a while but then tried to plough on ahead straight up the last hill which is probably a gentle incline but it felt like a mountain.  Once i got down the other side I found some speed from somewhere (no idea where) and picked up a sprint towards the end.  When i crossed the line I was doing around 6:30/miles which is my track speed.  I finished in 26:21 which was well below the 27:16 that i needed for a copper standard.  I was also 7th out of 31 people in my vet category and 32nd out of 187 women which isn't bad really considering how tired my legs were.  I didn't have too much time to contemplate it though as the 10k was next.

After getting my medal and a hug from the infamous Keith Peacock I had just enough time to get a drink and a quick toilet break before it all started again.  The 10k started at 11am and it was quite a bit more congested than the 5k.  I started right near the back and the plan was to do a nice steady plod.  I meant to have a gel between the two races but I forgot so my legs were really feeling it and was sooooo tired (least now i know how it will feel on the tour) but surprised myself by how I managed to keep going.  I was trying to keep up with people in front of me but had to stop and fasten my lace at around mile 4 and lost the plot, my brain completely forgot how to tie laces and so it took me a good couple of minutes. That rest probably helped me pick up some speed for the remainder of the second half though and by now I knew the route really well which I think helps a lot.  I crossed the line in 58:39 which isn't my fastest time ever but I'm still pretty proud of it.  I really enjoyed both races and I want to do both again next year without the other 44 miles beforehand.  The support from BTR, the volunteers and the residents was amazing and I loved the whole experience.  BTR certainly know how to put on a good race.

So, 2 BTR races done.  Only another 13 to go.  Hopefully a few more will include Keith hugs too.

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