This was the return of the Humber Bridge 10K, a race that I did last year. In fact this surprisingly tough little race was the first organised event I ever entered, and so last year, everything was a bit of a mystery and I was very nervous. But this year, I felt like a veteran. No nerves, but I was heavier this time having not done a huge amount of training in the weeks running up to it. As usual, the organisation was excellent, with tons of off-road parking at Hessle Rugby Club and lots of encouraging marshals around the course. To be fair, it’s pretty hard to get lost on a bridge so they were mainly pointing out directions in the side streets between bridge and rugby club! Here’s my mini review of this year’s trek.
I gave a lot of detail about the Humber Bridge race itself last year, so you can read that on the previous 2011 review I wrote. I ended up staying overnight with my running partner this time, so we got to set off from Leeds rather than me getting up really early to travel there before the journey to Hull. That was a good move as it meant I got to wake up later and enjoy an extra hour or two in bed.
The weather was perfect for running although it looked for a while like it might rain – sometimes I like to run in the rain though to stay cool. On the motorway approaching Hull the clouds disappeared so we were left with sun and a few clouds. Like last year it was fairly windy, and I was expecting this and just raring to go.
All the usual local club runners were in attendance again, and this prompted me to settle into a space near the back of the field at the start line. I’d learned from the Leeds half marathon that I’d much rather be overtaking people as the race progressed than seeing scores of people pegging me back.
So off we went up the inclined section of the course en route to the bridge. I always like to find a rhythm and it was difficult in this race in the early stages as we were all crowded together. I lost my running buddy early this year – we got to the 5km mark together the last time. Once I realised he’d dropped back a little, I opened up to find myself a nice gap to run in at my own pace, but this injection of speed was to cause a few problems later on.
It made a big difference knowing the course from the previous visit, and I was soon onto the bridge itself and motoring. It actually felt good powering along and I didn’t really notice the wind as I merrily overtook people. I lost a huge chunk of time at about 4km as I got caught up behind a bunch of girls in team vests (I won’t name and shame them!) Maybe I should have just shouted out, but instead tucked in waiting for one of them to spot me and shift aside. After about three minutes, one of them accelerated leaving her three mates running side-by-side. I went for my opportunity just as a guy in the queue behind me flashed by and settled in the gap. I think he noticed the thinly-veiled rage etched on my face, and beckoned me through a gap. Thanks for that, truly! Then I put my clog down and left them all behind.
Then it was past the 5km mark and the water station before crossing the underpass to the other side of the bridge and heading back towards the rugby club. Unfortunately, those previous bursts of acceleration had eaten into my red zone and I was struggling to keep the old legs turning over. I really hate it when that happens and I had to take a couple of walking breaks between 6 and 8km. At one point, a guy caught up and ran with me for a while asking if we had reached 7km yet. I laughed and replied that I hoped we’d be seeing the 8km marker soon, rather than the 7km one. And I was correct, thankfully!
At the end of the bridge it was time to use the underpass again to get to the original side of the bridge and then re-join the roads back to the rugby club. I stopped for a quick walk break at 9km. Actually I did this at the same point last year, but this time the marshal reminded me I only had one kilometre to go, and to get running. So thanks to him, I wound my pace back up and got a really good rhythm as the last kilometre was downhill.
Finally, I got to the club and onto the finishing straight; I couldn’t catch many people on this fast part of the course however, because the field had got so stretched out, but I came home in 54:40. Not a personal record but over a minute faster than last year so I was fairly happy. In retrospect, I wish I had shouted for those runners to get out of my way on the outbound journey on the bridge, and I’d have smashed my personal best time for the course. Oh well, next year then! Oh and here’s a vidclip of the finish of this year’s race with me staggering home with bib number 312 (clip time approx. 5:42):