After almost not making the start line at Goodwood Running Grand Prix 10k earlier this month, I can’t believe that I’m typing up this race recap at all, let alone the fact I finally smashed my sub-50 10k goal. I cannot thank the RunThrough team enough for helping me cross that start and finish line.
I had left home in good time to pick up my race number and join in the group warm up, and was using the journey there to remind myself of the race strategy I’d discussed with my coach and visualising finishing within my goal time. Then, suddenly, when I was half way to Goodwood, I saw smoke coming from the bonnet of my car. I pulled over on the hard shoulder of the M27 and jumped out of the car. When I saw a fire engine approaching a few minutes later, called by a member of the public who must have been driving past, I quickly realised that it was almost definitely going to be a DNS in place of a potential PB that morning.
Soon after, my dad (who just happens to be a mechanic by trade) also came to my rescue, but it was clear the car wouldn’t make it much further. After managing to move it to a safe place off the motorway, we decide to head on to Goodwood together, just to see what would happen when we arrived. I knew the 5k was starting slightly later than the 10k, so maybe I’d be able to tag on the end of that race instead.
We finally arrived just after 11 o’clock, the 10k having started at 10.30am and the 5k at 10.45am. I could see the race team starting to pack away the race number collection points and I thought I’d have to admit defeat. I dashed over to a volunteer and desperately explained what had happened in a last ditch attempt to get across the start line, and they agreed I could still run without hesitation. I was ecstatic.
It also gave me that extra motivation to run my heart out, leave everything on the course and go after that sub-50 time goal. I owed it to not only myself and my coach, but to the amazing and generous RunThrough team. I was given my race number and escorted to the start line just as the first 5k runners were sprinting to the finish.
It felt very lonely and quite intimidating running anti-clockwise around the motor circuit to the turning point on the first out-and-back section of the race. Literally everyone else was running towards me, most of them on the final push to the finish line. One runner I had met at a previous race at Goodwood passed me, calling out, ‘You’re a bit late, aren’t you?!’, but other runners obviously didn’t even realise that’s why I was going in that direction. One seemingly genuinely concerned runner even shouted ‘You’re going the wrong way!’.
That first kilometre felt long. So long that I started to question whether they had actually put out the cones for the 10k turning point and if I’d end up doing a full lap the wrong way round the course. But finally a volunteer in high-vis and a Santa hat came into view standing in the middle of the track, waiting for me to reach him. I was so grateful, not only to the RunThrough team for accommodating my lateness without so much as a second thought, but also to be finally running in the same direction as the remaining runners on the course.
I had been so worried about whether I would manage to even get over that start line, that it wasn’t until about 4k into the race that I started to realise how strong I was feeling. The extra adrenaline of the stressful morning coupled with the relief that I would still be running must have helped! There was a slight wind which was both a help and a hinderance around different sections of the circuit, but the weather was pretty much perfect racing conditions. Yes, it was cold, but it was much better than the muggy heat I’d experienced during my previous sub-50 attempt in July.
I crossed the half way point and I knew I was on track for my goal. I was tempted to start pushing harder from that moment but had been warned by my coach to hold off until the last mile or so. With just over a lap to go I stuck as close as I could to the pace we’d planned until I saw the 9k sign come into view.
It was now or never. Time to push on. I headed round the last corner and saw the finish line in the distance. I didn’t want to risk missing the goal by a few seconds so I sprinted that final strait as fast as my legs could carry me. Crossing the line I dared to check my watch. I had done it! My chip time was 48:57 and I was the 8th female finisher. Statistics a couple of years ago I never thought I would achieve in my wildest dreams. I was over the moon, and still can’t believe that I not only managed to clinch a sub-50 finished but actually managed to do it with over a minute to spare. I am ever so slightly gutted that my watch only registered 6.19 miles, so didn’t clock a personal record, but it doesn’t matter - the chip time is all I need.
After collecting my medal and post race goodies, including a mince pie for my dad who had not been expecting to stand around in the cold that morning, I dashed over to Lucy from RunThrough to say thank you again, that I had smashed my goal and that I was so grateful for being given the opportunity to run. After a few celebratory photos, I was very glad to be heading home in a warm and safe car, with a medal round my neck and a PB in the bank.
10k remains my absolute favourite distance to race and I’m beyond chuffed to have ticked off the fourth and final goal that I had set myself for 2022. It had been the only speed related one and it had taken me 3 attempts over the year, but I had done it. The question is, will I keep pushing for an even faster 10k in 2023, or will I switch focus to another distance?
You can read more about my other recent races, including Southampton 10k in July, here. Or you can read more about my postpartum running journey by clicking here. Don’t forget to subscribe to be the first to know about any news and updates, just enter your email address at the bottom of the page. Thanks!