Race date Sunday 21 August 2022
This is all my darling wife’s fault. Due to attend a hen do in Blackheath on the Saturday, a train strike meant that taxi services were required. Looking for something to do that weekend the only races south of Watford to be found were at Clacton or The Isle of Wight until it was discovered that an email to the organiser might get an entry to this event otherwise advertised as full.
Hosted by Kent AC there were five well populated graded races over the afternoon together with beer tent, tea hut festooned with cake and a good crowd. A race clock, usually only visible to the race leaders in road races, was sited at the 400m mark easing the additional challenge of the necessary mental arithmetic although the announcer’s suggestion that the mid 70’s temperatures and slight breeze were actually pb conditions seemed to be contrary to the need for a team handing out sponges on the back straight. All very different to my previous 10000m experience way back in Blackburn 1992 in a GRE Cup race which had only four competitors.
Race instructions included a worrying reference to UK Athletics rules dictating that, as a track race, shoes with a sole greater that 25mm were not permitted. A link to the World Athletics shoe list showed that even DS Trainers were illegal thus risking disqualification even if the notoriety might have been fun. Although further clarification advised that this was all up to the race referee the clear inference was that Vapourfly’s etc would incur her wrath. Nevertheless, a rummage at the back of the cupboard found an ancient pair of legal Saucony Fastwitch 7 racing flats. Writing this on Monday morning the soles of feet and knees are sore so the Fastwitch really ought to go for recycling.
Strategy for track racing is quite different to your average road race, especially for the 25 laps of the 10000m. With a small field you’re likely to be running solo for much of the time so the stopwatch becomes your friend. Working out your intended splits requires honesty as, although ambition should not be discouraged, you need to accept what you can seriously hope to accomplish. Understand that an error of only one second per lap is a significant 25 seconds in total. The golden rule is not to set off too fast; easy to do on the track but the consequences can be quite unpleasant later on.
The services of a Diamond League style pacemaker were offered who, after negotiation, ran at 43 minute pace. The plan was to see how the first lap went to see who was running close to my intended pace but by 200m most of the 19 strong field were already disappearing into the distance trying to keep up with the pacemaker. Keep the faith, the slower ones will come back. Lapped at about 5000m (the leaders were over three minutes in the end) it was at this stage that some of those who had been too ambitious earlier on reappeared. This is a great feeling and was surprised to run a 20 second negative split with a blistering ninety second last lap to catch and pass the second woman. Nearly two minutes quicker than Askern the previous weekend this must head the Strider’s 10000m rankings for 2022. (Irony noted as no other 10000m times have been posted this year. ed.)
In the other races, Leo Tsang who trains with us on Thursday and provided the heads up for this race, finished second in heat two in 39:04.29. In heat five Norman Shreeve (Cambridge & Colieridge) ran 30:42.60 whilst fastest woman on the day was Lara Bromilow (Milton Keynes) who ran 35:46.76 in heat three.
Link to full result here if you wish to browse Ladywell 10000 2022 Results
How to keep track of how many laps there are to go is the question? For the leaders there’s the lap counter whilst for the poor lapped souls there’s a plethora of clipboarded officials shouting their laps individually as they pass by whilst the sound of the bell is oh so sweet. Very, very well organised event.