Richard P-K and I both travelled to Battersea Park on Wed 19 Sept to compete in the VAC 10,000m Track Champs, writes John Denyer. This was not because either of us enjoy running such a long distance on the track (it always seems much more difficult than a road 10k because of the 25 laps) but because we both wanted a crack at the Club Best times at the distance, Richard to set an M85 time and me to try and better Richard's M70 club record.
Richard is often concerned that he will keep the officials waiting for him to finish but he was lapping at a similar pace to two others and with his seniority he should not worry. He ran steadily and well to post an M85 club record of 71:50.38 and as he says to set a future target for all of us – I just hope I'm still running at 85, he's an inspiration to all of us.
My race was not quite as straightforward. I had run a good M70 time in the Larkfield 10k on the Sunday but the story of this race was to be a little different. I had probably set off a little too fast but was going well until about 8k when I was about 30sec ahead of a 45min time, but fatigue was starting to set in. We all feel tired at that stage of a race so pressing on is what we do. Soon after the 8k mark I felt myself leaning forward more than usual and over the next few laps slowed to a walk several times for a short while to try and recover some composure. Walking in any race was new to me, especially a relatively short 10k. Overall I slowed quite a bit in the last 2k but with a lap to go thought I ought to try to finish strongly. As I entered the finishing straight I could feel myself leaning forward and to the left and with about 20m to go I was powerless to stop myself falling heavily but the urge to finish was still there so I was up quite quickly to cross the finish line. I have never experienced that before and don't know what caused it, I probably pressed too hard from the start so soon after a tough race on Sunday perhaps, low blood sugar maybe. I certainly don't want that again for sure! Anyway I finished in 45:29.69, not as fast as I had hoped, over 1m30s slower than at Larkfield but at least I managed to finish 24 sec inside Richard's M70 club record!
Richard's time puts him top of the M85 UK rankings and me 5th ranked at M70, although there are probably not too many mad folk running 10,000m on the track.
Immediately crossing the finish line I was not aware of the damage I had done to myself – a track is an unforgiving surface and very abrasive! Fortunately others around had spotted the abrasions to my head, shoulder and leg oozing blood by this time and were very kind to offer help with bandages etc. My blood stained bandages certainly drew some strange looks on my train journey home. After an uncomfortable night the Minor Injuries clinic at Sevenoaks Hospital cleaned and dressed my wounds the following morning - I have significant skin loss on my forehead, knee and shoulder so have bandages and dressings all over plus a black eye! I won't forget this race in a hurry, but my injuries are nothing compared with the pelvic fractures poor Lyndon has just had surgery for. We all hope he is back to fitness soon.
Full results here.