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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Coventry parkrun attendance record

A fantastic turnout at Coventry parkrun today. In total 178 people completed the run, smashing the previous attendance record of 162 by 16. This looked on the cards after the 160 turnout last week. I wonder what kind of totals we are going to get up to later in the year when it gets a bit warmer. It looks like we will be pushing 200 in the not too distant future for sure, certainly long before the April date I predicted around new year.

The new course that I tried out on Wednesday and Friday was adopted for the parkrun today. It was a real relief not to have to run across the "bog of doom" around the memorial monument. It has become more and more boggy and slippery over the last few weeks and almost impossible to run on.

The few commenst that I heard about the new course after the run were all positive. I think most runners appreciated avoiding the muddy bits. The lovely smooth flat pathways of the new route are also a real bonus. Unfortunately, expecting the muddy course, I had turned up in my old "dead" trainers, completely lacking in an kind of spring. I think this affected my pace a little.

The strong wind also affected speed also affected speed today. It seemed as though it was into our faces for three quarters of the lap.

Before that start I made an arrangement with Paul Slatford to run together in an attempt to get a faster time. We agreed that Paul would get us through the first lap in 9:20 and I would do the same for the second lap.

We set off steadily, keeping up with the lead runners for the first few hundred yards. After about 3 minutes we overtook Ian Gower (who was in 2nd), leaving us in second and third. By this time Harry Redford already had a good 50 yard lead and look certain to win. Paul and I ran on together for the rest of the first lap. It felt like we had been running at a good pace, so I was a little surprised when we completed the first lap in 9:39.

As agreed before the start of the run, I took over the lead on the second lap. I upped the pace slightly and Paul stayed on my shoulder. However, about 4 minutes into the second lap I could feel Paul slipping back. I knew that we were still well below the agreed pace so I carried on at the same pace. Paul clearly slowed as within a minute the gap was at least 50 yards.

I would usually up my speed for the final half lap but the wind and a lack of energy prevented that today. I ran on to the end, finishing comfortably in second, and far less exhausted than usual, but a finishing time of 19:07 was a little disappointing to say the least. Well off the "low 18:40's" time that I had been hoping for.

Talking to Coventry parkrun Race Director Jason Douglas after the run it sounds as though we will be keeping to this new course for the coming weeks whilst the work on the memorial monument is ongoing. He did also mention that the new route may be very slightly over 5km, maybe an extra 50 metres or so, but he had erred on it being slightly long rather than short. Fair enough I say.

I think I have resigned myself to the fact that I really need to start doing some hills and fartlec work in the next few weeks. My recent raining just hasn't been doing me the good I need it too. Hopefully a few hard training sessions will get me back on course for the times I want. I think its going to have to be a hard 5km followed by a few tough hills on Monday!

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