Dead Runners society race report
Bury St. Edmunds 20 miler - Sunday 1st March 1998.
Another spring marathon to train for, this year it was Boston again, so another Bury 20 as marathon preparation.
Tony here in cold chilly and windy england, can Spring be far away now :-)
This morning "The Beautiful Shelley" drove me and 2 of the university "kiddies", Amites and Adam, down the A14 to Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk for the 20 mile race. 20 mile races are peculiar to this time of the year as preparation races for the London Marathon, I don't think I've ever seen a 20
miler outside February and March. This is probably the biggest and best 20 in the country, I had run this race 3 times before in 1991, 1995 and 1997.
We arrived in plenty of time and hung around in the warmth of the sports centre until it was nearly time to run, I did 2 laps of the track at the sports centre before getting my racing gear on and lining up. It was a cold windy day but unlike most of the rest of the competitors I didn't think it was
worth wearing anything under my running vest. Shelley was going to run the first 5 and last 2.5 miles of the race as an easy training run as we were racing. Lined up with Amites and Adam and off we went.
With over 1000
entries it was a pretty crowded and fast start, Amites and Adam soon zoomed off.
Runner's World had organised pacing groups to take runners round at 7 minute
miling, 8 minute miling etc and they chased after the pacer. I was planning to
run round at 7 minute pace but it felt a lot faster than that to me. First 2
miles were through the town, first mile in 6.45 and 2nd
mile reached in 13.26/6.41, felt too fast to me even though the first couple of miles were downhill, the RW group were already a long way ahead. Out into the countryside and I felt a bit easier as the field started to spread out, 3 miles 20.23/6.57. By now were were running into the wind, a fairly strong breeze but nothing like the gales we had last year. Working hard now as the
field gradually started to string out, I wanted to try and stay in a pack for the first half. I could see a huge pack of runners ahead, the RW 7 minute pace group, it was quite comical to be running at sub 7 minute pace and being a fair way behind the 7 minute mile pacer! Passing runners and being passed as we ran on a narrow road through some fields, 4 miles in 27.21/6.58, gradually closing in on Amites and I caught him at 5 miles reached in 34.14/6.53. Amites is a lot faster than me over short distances but I thought I might get him over 20 as he'd never raced that far before and he said he was only going for 2h20.
Ran with Amites for the next mile, I felt he was holding me up slightly and the pack I wanted to catch was drifting away so at 6 miles (41.22/7.08) I speeded up and pulled away as we ran through the village of Risby. Speeded up on a gradual downhill and passed a couple of runners although a few passed me, I knew from previous runs this was the fastest part of the course, 7 miles in
48.12/6.50, 8 miles in 54.57/6.45. By now I got onto the back of a pack, working hard to stay there but at least I was getting some shelter from the wind. Kept going downhill to 9 miles (1h01.38/6.41). Turned a corner just after 9 and started a long gradual climb, started to feel tired by now, having to work harder to stay with the pack. 10 miles reached in 1h08.43/7.05, halfway there.
Got to 11 miles in 1h15.36/6.53, finally got the wind behind but there was a gradual uphill as well, I was trying to just stay with the pack here, I knew some hills were coming soon and I wanted to save something for them. We passed the 4th placed lady just before 12 miles which was reached in 1h22.50/7.14, missed a drink at the 12 mile drinks station :-( By now I could see Adam ahead, he'd been dropped from the RW group and looked to be struggling. 13 miles reached in 1h29.50/7.00 and now for the HILLS. The whole course is gently undulating but the next two miles were really hilly. Mostly downhill to 14 miles reached in 1h35.25/6.35, passed Adam at 14 miles just as we started the first of 2 long climbs. By now my pack had disintegrated, I was passing a few on the uphills, the first climb wasn't too bad but the second hill was longer and tougher and I felt pretty bad near the top. Lots of crowd support near the top, just before the top 15 miles reached in 1h43.30/7.05. 5 miles to go and I was over the worst.
Tried to speed up on the flat but my left leg felt very sore for a minute, managed to keep going although I lost a couple of places, a runner in green and white came past and I was able to hang on. Made sure I got a drink just before 16 miles (1h50.28/6.58). Back into the village of Risby, I knew once I got through here I was nearly home. With Mr green and white I was gradually picking off runners one at a time, 17 miles in 1h57.22/6.54. Really tired by now, the wind which so noticeable on the way out was a lot less noticeable when it was behind us. Just before 18 miles we passed Andrew, another kiddie who stopped running right in front of me, 18 miles in 2h04.15/6.53. On for about 2h18 by now, got ahead of Mr green and white as we went through the A14 roundabout to finally onto the road into Bury St. Edmunds, working really hard now on a slight uphill to 19 miles (2h11.16/7.01). Off the road and onto the pavement in from here and Mr green and white zoomed off :-( The change in road surface was pretty uncomfortable and I was really hurting by now, the brain wanted to speed up but the legs weren't too keen. It seemed to take an age before we finally got to the sports centre but finally onto the track, the clock had just changed to 2h18 as I got onto the track and I crossed the line in 2h18.18, 7.02 for the last mile.
Very, very tired on finishing, that was tough but a really good race. Got a drink and shook hands with Mr green and white, met up with Shelley. The kiddies came in a few minutes later, Amites just broke 2h23 and finished just ahead of Adam. Andrew came in just inside 2h25, I took 6 minutes of out him in 2 miles! Rather pleased to have beaten the rest of my university clubmates, I'm usually the last Cambridge man to finish not the first! I'd threatened them that if they beat me they wouldn't get a lift home off Shelley, my threat worked :-) This wasn't a short XC race, this was long distance road running, my type of race. I showed those kiddies how to race over this distance,
hopefully this will encourage them not to go off too fast in the London marathon. A very encouraging run for me for Boston. I was hoping for 2h20 and I beat it easily. My 2nd fastest 20 miler ever, 67 seconds slower than my pb set 6 years ago at Rochdale when I was at my fittest ever. I knew I had a good run in me after last week's XC race but I was worried that I might not make it all the way round as my back had been sore towards the end of the week. The RW
pace man got round in 2h15.52, I bet a lot of runners were kicking themselves at the end for following him. I finished 101st in the race, not bad with over 1000 entrants.
roll on Boston!
Milton, Cambridgeshire, England
University of Cambridge, Dept of Chemistry
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