Did a chip time of 48:51 in the Stratford Big 10k this morning (Sunday)! Previous best was unofficially 51:11 so absolutely smashed my 10k PB.
Race report: On a beautiful, sunny, calm morning (perhaps just a bit too warm), around 900 runners lined up at the start. A few hundred metres from the start I managed to see my wife and rather bemused 2yr old as everyone streamed past. The first few kms contained a couple of hills and they went rather well - I was expecting around 5mins20s for each of them but I did 5:04 and 5:03 on them so by the time I got to the big downhill (complete with lovely views over SW Warwickshire) I was feeling really good about things. I very early got tripped on the downhill though... with everyone hurtling down the hill a guy cut straight across me and I nearly clipped his heels. Could have been quite nasty if we'd fallen!
On to the flatter half of the course and I just seemed to be at quite a comfortable pace knocking out kms at between 4:45 and 4:59. It really helps running alongside people at the same pace. It's like they help to carry you along and as I was doing the calculations in my head I realised I was on for sub 50: just needed to keep the same pace. The shade definitely helped, though it was sad to see that a runner had collapsed about two-thirds of the way through the race. The medical team was already with her so I'm sure she was in good hands.
Getting back into Stratford town centre for the final mile was wonderful with all the tourists enjoying the sun and cheering us on. The final stretch (about 80m) was a bit weird... on slightly slippy grass, all of a sudden I had much less traction so the final sprint felt quite odd! I saw my wife and daughter again though before I crossed the line so that was rather nice.
I stopped my watch just after the line and couldn't believe that it was saying 48:53. All the official times were up on the website before midday and I did 48:51! I had been hoping for sub-51 so to go underneath 50 mins was amazing - I wasn't even going to put it on my list of goals until next year!
Really well organised race, great views around the course (we went past Shakespeare's resting place and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre too) and it was nice to get a proper running top (instead of just a cotton T-shirt). The only disappointment was not getting a finisher medal. Do lots of races not give out finishers medals?
Onwards to my first HM in Silverstone next March, though I am planning on doing a 10k race in February as a bit of a warm up. Firstly though I want to really attack my 5k PB and hopefully go sub-23.