The race is at 11:43, check in 10:48. Richard Burns is coming to watch and I will meet him for the first time. He broke the 33-year-old 55+ 1mile record about this time last year, the one I broke a few months later, in October – we have been emailing ever since his record-braking run.
There were the usual early-morning pre-race heart-racing nerves and thinking through various race tactics and scenarios I don’t feel as much pressure now I have had one very good result but being the WR holder for this distance brings a certain amount of pressure. The temperature is due to peak at 33C today so perhaps about 30C for the race, and there seems to be a slight breeze.
What a nightmare getting to the track but a very very successful day – the type of race you always want to run. I was feeling a little tired after the 8km cross-country a few days ago so was rather pleased when the pace was very slow at the start. Because the pace was so slow I ended up in front but this was no a day for speed; it was cooler (about 30C) but a fair breeze was blowing down the back straight. So I moved into lane 2 slowed up and let the next 2 runners pass – and then I tucked in behind. The laps were painfully slow. At some point the leader opened a small gap so I hopped into second place and followed.
Michael Deagan was on the track side (a former British International and CEO for my sponsors Ron Hill) and he did a great job in telling me who was where. Lap 8 was another slow one and someone in the first race had run 17.06 and we seemed to be heading for that time so there was a real danger of winning the race and coming 2nd! The Dutch runner I thought might be fast dropped off fairly early leaving just me and Jose the Columbian; and he was looking tired.
So at the end of the back straight where it was no longer windy I took the lead and finished off with an average of 73 per lap, held my form well and simply demolished the field! Sweet! A very slow time of 16:35 but overall I think one of my better performances when the tactics are taken into consideration. The crowd really appreciated the race and I felt a little embarrassed shaking hands with people all along the length of the stand But that said it was a classic race to watch and must have been very entertaining.
I had my Vibrams ready to wear but we had to wear timing chips and I decided not to experiment with attaching it to the Vibrams (The MOCs have no strap like the ones I used for cross-country).
My thanks to them for helping out with the cheering and especially to Richard Burns, George Haywood who I only met yesterday, and Jim from our rooms who made special trips to come along; and to Michael Deagan for the great track-side help – really appreciated. I will go to watch Richard in his 400 hurdles final on Monday.
After the race we made the journey back to the main stadium, ate on the way and the waited for the presentation. The Columbian runner and his friend who was 3rd in our race were surprised that the American from race 1 was 2nd – I think they misunderstood the time as 17.59 instead of 17.059 – after a considerable time and translation service it was sorted. It’s been a long day and I have also acquired some red skin which needs some care. However, legs all good and am thinking of not withdrawing from the 10,000m and asking the officials if I can check-in late for the 1500m which start at another stadium soon after the 10,000m finishes. Four days now until the 10,000m/1500m races