A few weeks have gone by now, but I wanted to try and keep up the habit of at least recording each “proper” run that I do for posterity. For one reason or another it’s been a few weeks, but better late than never here is my write-up of the Eastleigh 10k on Sunday March 27th, 2011.
First impressions began with the arrival of the runner’s pack, which contained the chip tag that all entrants wear on the ankle. The event is sponsored by B&Q who are a major local employer and the organisation and quality of the pack contents was also noticeably higher than some others. I was number 1467.
Getting to the run itself was the first challenge – the event is popular and the traffic around Eastleigh was very busy and parking spaces at a premium. Having finally found a space a short distance away, we wandered first round to the race HQ at Fleming Park and then on to the starting line on Passfield Avenue.
The course runs from just outside Fleming Park through Boyatt Wood and up to Allbrook before coming back down Passfield Avenue and through Eastleigh itself down Derby Road and finally back down Chestnut Avenue and back into Fleming Park itself to the finish line. The course is mainly on road, with the local roads being closed for the race and pretty flat, save the hill up to Allbrook.
Whilst I’ve grown in confidence I thought I’d made an honest assessment of my abilities and started probably about a third of the way back. When the gun went off, I realised I may have been a bit hard on myself (or indeed that others had not been hard enough) as it took me a good 500-700 metres to reach my desired running pace. The atmosphere was really good with a nice mixture of running clubs and fun runners (including some guys in Sombreros).
Having got going at around the 4:35-4:40 mins/km mark, the first challenge was the hill up Twyford Road to Allbrook which was enough to drag on the legs but not too hard. As I said before the course is pretty flat, though coming down Woodside Avenue from the peak of the hill the decline was sufficient that I could pick up to 4:15-4:20 pace which helped offset the slow start off the line. Coming back down Passfield Avenue, lots of people were supporting from the sides of the roads which was great.
Heading up Derby Road towards Eastleigh was surprisingly hard, and probably my hardest part of the course. I think it was a combination of a slight incline (though not much) in the road, fatigue from the first half of the race and a very long straight where the next turning was not visible for a while. I noticed a few people flagging so I don’t think I was alone in finding that leg reasonably demanding. Heading back in to Fleming Park and into the funnel I ended up having a final sprint competition with a guy who had crept up on me but he had just a bit more strength left pipping me across the line. Can’t win them all.
Provided refreshments at the finish line included a bottle of water, some (nice) fruit cake and a banana.
Garmin recorded my time as 46:39, average pace 4:40 min/km. The official results recorded my chip time as 46:24 and gun time as 47:08, both of which were a PB over my Winchester time so I was more than happy with that.