Day 3 of my Marcothon challenge included a familiar route wearing a familiar vest, pacing 24 minutes at Strathclyde parkrun.
This was a special week at parkrun as all the pacer vests were out on the field today, hoping that we could bring a few of our regular runners home in a PB time. I personally knew that one of my running buddies, Stewart Cutler was relying on me to come in as close to that 24 minute target as possible as he was hoping to beat that 24 minute barrier.
We had our regular warm-up led by John Allan who I pre-warned to cut out all the less dynamic stretching and get us all moving as it was FREEZING! The wind had changed direction this week which meant that we had the wind against us on the way out, this of course was a slight advantage as we would have it behind us on the home stretch! The runners made there way to the starting line through the soggy grass where race director Iain Macaulay gave us our usual safety briefing. I got a special mention this week as I was nominated as this months Sweatshop prize winner, sporting a new pair of Asics Cumulus running shoes (thanks guys!).
Jon Edge was on timer who gave the signal and we were on our way. Normally when I pace at 24 I run the first KM about 10-15 seconds slower than the rest but with the head wind and the wet conditions I knew that round at the puddles things may slow down a bit so I stuck to a strict pace. I immediately had about 4 or 5 runners around me with one runner right by my side. Conditions were not too bad despite the wind and we all soon warmed up to beat the cold. Before I knew it we were crossing the 1 KM mark, bang on target at 4.48 minutes. I wasn't sure if I had already lost Stewart by this point, the 1 parkrunner that I wanted by my side for this event. Before we reached the first marshal point I had a quick look around my shoulder and there he was, right on my tail. We made our way through the trees, crossing the 1 mile point in 7.41minutes. Here comes the fun and games! The weather had been terrible the last few days with rain fall high. It doesn't take much for the puddles to appear at Strathclyde park but with the recent bad weather I don't think the word 'puddle' really cuts it. I was half expecting a couple of life guards to come in after me as I made my way through the middle of the first 'puddle'. The runner by my side made comment on how my new trainers would no longer be so 'new'. Not something that I was too bothered about, I find something quite embarrassing about parading new white shiny shoes. Soggy feet on the other hand, not something I welcome with open arms.
We crossed the 2KM point in 9.30 minutes, just under our target pace and ideal for the course. The 'puddles' seemed to go on forever and was glad when we reached the bend as my feet were soaked and toes frozen with the cold water. I still had my group around me and we were scooping up runner as we went along who found their pace slowing down coming up to the 3 KM point. 14.20 minutes and almost perfect splits at this point in the run. I turned to make sure I still had Stewart on my tail who informed me that he was starting to struggle. I encouraged him to keep going and that the hardest part was done. I was glad to find that he upped his pace to join my side as we headed down through the trees and along to the home stretch. I knew that I was going to be pretty close to the 24 minute mark at this point and with all the pacer vests out today, I was determined to try and get as close to my target pace as possible. We reached the 4 KM mark in 19.10 minutes and assured all the runners around me that they were all going to do it. At this point Sarah Joyce came powering through and off she went leaving the rest of us behind. My concentration at this point turned to Stewart, knowing that he was going to get his PB as long as he finished! We kept a steady pace and with 200m to go I gave him the signal to go for it! Off he went along with everyone else around me, I continued to shout words of encouragement as they passed the 100m mark and was glad to see that everyone upped the pace and pushed that little bit harder.
I enjoyed this week at parkrun more than any other weeks I have ran, knowing that an army of pacer were out on the course trying to bring everyone in for a PB, before the snow arrives! My Garmin signalled that I crossed the line in 24.00.58, or in other words 24 MINUTES! I knew that the official time would be a second either way of the 24 minutes but was pleased to know that I carried out the task of pacing to almost perfection!
The runners around me came in at:
Sarah Joyce - 23.48 minutes
Dwayne Marshall - 23.50 minutes
Stewart Cutler - 23.50 minutes (NEW PB)
Gordon Cowie - 23.51 minutes
Ronnie Brown - 23.52 minutes
Martin Kelly - 24.11 minutes (NEW PB)
Martin Stirling - 24.20 minutes (NEW PB)
My Garmin recorded the spilt's for each KM at 4.48, 4.48, 4.45, 4.48, 4.51....
Today's event welcomed a total of 88 runners, 9 first timers and 16 PB's! Also, well done to John Smith who completed his 50th parkrun to join that 'elite' (his words not mine) group of runners!