I have never raced the Lymington 10K but it featured in the Club Championship this year so I of course signed up.
It was a well attended event, with just under a thousand people running on Sunday. While we were the dominating club there were a few others club runners, some of which were very strong. I think there were about 50 runners from the club, it was great to see so much orange!
While the 10K was the main event, there was also children fun runs as well which I’ll keep in mind next year for my boys.
The course description is flat with mixed terrain. This is a perfect description and one I wish I’d paid a bit more attention to as I chose the wrong footwear but more on that in a bit.
So the race started at 10am, I arrived about 9am to give me enough time to chill out and then prepare. The group of Harriers were easy to pick out, so joined the group and had a little chat and catch up. I seemed to have been made the favourite to secure the 50 points prize for being first Harrier, I quickly tried to put an end to those rumours as I had awoke with a sore lower back and my left knee feeling a little tight. I tried to put top spot pressure on Luke who had run a 36:26 recently and looked in great form.
So I did the normal ten minute jog and stretches and joined the sub 40 pen taking a gel beforehand.
My plan was to go and try and run flat 5:55 but if a Harrier went I would stay behind and mount a charge near the end.
So the green light was given and I headed off across the field, I was given the advise to get to the gate quickly as it’s narrow and can cause a bit of a queue. I did as advised and it worked well but I know of some runners further back that got stuck and were frustrated.
Once through the gate it’s a hard left and you’re onto the road with a gentle decline down to the front. Luke went off quite quick so I decided to stay on his shoulder as didn’t want him to create too much of a gap. This was the wrong thing to do in hindsight as it meant I ran the first mile in 5:33, faster than my 5K pace, and second in 5:42 but that was my plan so I stuck to it. After mile 2 the road surface changed to a dirt track, winding through the flood plains with picturesque views.
After mile 2 you are out in the open and it was now I realised just how warm it was, I was pleased that I had decided to wear my handband/bandana to keep the sweat out of my eyes. I hit mile 3 with a respectable 5:57 and Luke had dropped off just slightly (about 15 seconds behind), I didn’t realise this at the time and still thought he was with me. It was at this point I changed my plan and decided to push on and form a gap, had I known I had already started to create one I wouldn’t of done this.
After mile three the surface changed from track to a shingle path and it was now that I realised I’d worn the wrong shoes, as it became quite uncomfortable under foot. I was wearing Brooks T7 which is a lightweight racing flat and I would have been better off in my Adidas Revenge Boost for that extra bit of cushioning. To make things worse there was now a warm coastal headwind which made things even more tough; again probably not the best time to push hard.
It was just after mile 4 that a New Forest runner caught me, I knew my legs were starting to go at this point and I did curse myself for going off to fast. I locked on to him and kept pace, pushing as hard as I could. We both started to close in on the runner in front together and passed him just before mile 5.
At mile 5 we left the front and thankfully returned to tarmac, my feet were so thankful! It was at this point that the NF runner pushed on and start to pull out a gap (remember my initial plan, it worked so well for him!). I was happy to let him go but with legs starting to fail I was just concerned on being caught by Harriers and losing the 50 points. I didn’t want to look back and give encouragement, so I started to ask Marshals if there was any orange behind instead. I was reassured there wasn’t so eased off just slightly as legs were really beginning to tire.
The final 0.2 miles was back onto the playing field where we begun, I saw from the timer that I could beat my PB so I put in a sprint along the finishing straight to record a very pleasing 36:36 and 7th overall.
While I was disappointed in the manner I ran the race, I was absolutely thrilled to finally come first Harrier and pick up those 50 points for the Club Championship! Additionally it was pleasing that I PB’d in those race conditions, this gives me confidence going into Poole 10K that, with the right conditions, I could improve further. My only concern is my left knee, while my back loosened up, I still seem to have a dull ache on my knee. I think this is just down to quad tightness so will work on this through stretching and the foam roller.
Overall I would recommend this race and certainly run it again. It ticks all the boxes for every type of runner – Flat, Picturesque, Family Friendly, Well Organised and Marshaled, Mixed ability and the medal is really nice too!