Things have got a bit busy around here over the last month, and unfortunately we’ve got a little bit behind on this blog. So.. looking back a few weeks, I ran the Battle of Sedgemoor 10k on 30 August. I ran this race last year as well, and really enjoyed it; it marked the first time that I ran sub-45, and although I beat my time a few weeks later at the Taunton 10k, I looked upon this race more fondly than Taunton.
The course begins in the middle of Langport, head off along the main road back towards Taunton, which is about two kilometres of gentle climbing. A left turn then drops back downhill, onto the Somerset Levels proper into the village of Mulcheney (yes, the one that was in the news because it was completely cut off during the bad flooding.) This middle part of the run is pretty flat, as the location would suggest, before a climb towards the end back up to the top of Langport. Finally, the last kilometre (ish) is all downhill back to the finish in the middle of town. The whole course is run on open roads, but is very well marshalled, and as far as I can recall, only one turn requires crossing traffic.
My race went almost perfectly. I headed off at a decent, but not crazy, pace for the initial mile climbing out of Langport, and then let myself go a little bit more as I swept down the hill off the main road. I maintained a reasonably steady pace through the first three miles; 6:48, 6:52, 6:48. Having not raced a flat 10k for a while, I wasn’t sure where my pace should be, but those miles felt reasonably comfortable, and a new parkrun PB of 20:15 a few weeks earlier had given me confidence that running sub-7 minute miles was perfectly doable over the distance. Over the next couple of miles, my pace did drop off a little, but while I would prefer that it didn’t, this is a common feature of my 10k races, and one that I plan for. That part of the course is a little boring, following a reasonably long straight road for most of miles four and five, and splits of 7:00 and 7:09 weren’t unreasonable. After the fifth mile, I ramped my pace back up a little along a flat section at the top of Langport, before letting my legs stretch out as we dropped down the hill back into the town. At this stage I could see one of my club-mates, Clive – who I frequently train with, about twenty to thirty metres ahead of me, and thought that I might have had a chance of catching him. Unfortunately, he pushed on too and I didn’t get any closer to him. Despite not catching Clive, I passed a few runners with my extended fast finish, and still just about managed to press on to a sprint for a final fifty metres or so.
I finished in 42:19; a new PB by over a minute. Although before the race I would have told you that my only target was to set a new PB, I had been harbouring a quiet desire to go sub-42, but that will have to wait for another race. After this race, it’s a few weeks until the Two Tunnels half marathon, and in between, a trip away with my wife’s family to the Yorkshire Dales: lots of food, alcohol and relatively late nights, none of which is particularly helpful for half marathon training!!