ASHFORD & DISTRICT 10K 18/03/12

This is my idea of a great small race. It's organised by Nice Work and I've done a few of their events. This is the third time I've run it. It's about an hour's drive out of London and as usual I arrive ridiculously early. The race HQ, car park and finish line are in the local sports and social club. They have a clubhouse and a field and I have plenty of time to collect my number and get ready, just the way I like it. The start is a mile a way and we all walk down there, in the online reviews some people complain about this but I appreciate the easy warm up and jog a bit to get going. The start is on a narrow lane and off we go. The route is undulating with one big hill towards the end. I get into a decent groove and I think I am running consistently allowing for the terrain. The first half has a slight overall downhill profile and I am at 5K in 22.04 which is eight seconds slower than in 2010. The hill arrives at about 6K and goes up 40 metres over the next mile. Nothing drastic but it need a good effort and getting up this reasonably unscathed is really the key to the race. My target is simply to break 45 mins, in 2010 I ran it in 45.17 and in 2011 45 minutes dead. I'm up at the top of the hill and I'm going to have to go hard over the last couple of kilometres to the finish. I'm using my daughter Lauren as inspiration, I tell myself I am going to do this for her which is a good bit of motivational trickery and I am pushing hard. Even still when we reach the turn off the lane into the sports field for the final couple of hundred metres it is touch and go. I'm quite proud of this finish, I absolutely rinse myself and get there with three seconds to spare. I'm grimacing with determination in the finishing straight race photo.

Compared to the nerves of the pre race drive I love the post race hanging about, having a cup of tea and a snack, applauding the low key awards ceremony and driving back with the satisfaction of a job well done.

Grimacing with the effort in the finishing straight