When I started my blog last summer, one of my first posts was a race report on the Perth 10k. Rather unbelievably, a year has passed and on Sunday 26th August I once more lined up at the start of the Perth 10k, albeit in rather better weather conditions than have prevailed at this race over the last couple of years!
This, the 29th anniversary of the event, was Steve’s 2nd year as race director. The advantage of this for me was that I didn’t have to queue up to collect my race pack as Steve was preparing them all in our living room – I simply removed mine from the pile the night before then turned up in time to run!
There’s something nice about a local race – no painfully early alarm on a Sunday morning, no difficulties finding the start, no parking worries, just a nice Sunday run on familiar routes. And since it was local, I decided to break one of the cardinal rules of running and wear a new piece of kit: a recently purchased running skirt I hadn’t yet had a chance to run in. What a rebel!
I arrived at the George Duncan Athletics Arena (the start and finish of the race) around 10am and, after locating Tablet Lady in the car park so I could stock up on her tasty treats, soon found a number of people I knew to talk to. Since I haven’t been able to race much this year, it felt good to be around familiar faces, going through the familiar routine of checking kit and queuing for toilets – I even managed to miss the running club photo as I was still in the toilet queue! Soon enough, though, it was time to head to the far side of the track for the start.
The Perth 10k route has evolved and changed over time, but has been on its current route for the last few years. It’s a fast, flat route ideal for a PB and features some lovely scenery by the banks of the Tay. Although it felt a little cool before the start, the sun was shining and there was only a light wind, so the stage was set for a good race.
The race begins with 2 laps of the track. I always find pacing tricky at this point as I’m used to doing speedwork on that very track, but in a longer race I need to hold back a bit. During my 2nd lap, I spotted Fraser who was taking press photos of the event. I smiled and waved cheerily before completing my lap and heading out onto the paths leading down to the North Inch.
I’m not a fan of laps of the Inch. One is ok, two is pushing it, any more would be torture! If I have to include a lap of the Inch in one of my training runs, I tend to start there as it’s soul-destroying to run miles and miles then still have a lap of the Inch (approx 1.5 miles) ahead. The Perth 10k includes 2 laps of the Inch, which inevitably means those of us in the middle of the pack will be lapped by the super fast guys at some point during our first lap! I simply dug in, listened to my iPod and just got on with the business of completing my run.
Since it was a nice day, a lot of people were on the Inch to cheer the runners on, including many people I knew. In a way this was good as it meant that I kept pushing hard as I couldn’t be seen to be trying any less than my best! David Bauchope from the website roadrunpics.com was also on the Inch and, sick of seeing pictures of me looking like death during races, I once more gave a cheery smile and a wave, crossing my fingers the picture would turn out well:
After the 2nd lap, the route returns back up the same paths to the track where it finishes with a lap and a bit of the track accompanied by the cheers and claps of spectators in the grandstand.
After the finish line I was presented with my medal, a bottle of water and was directed to a table of sliced watermelon. Steve was inspired by the US races we took part in which all featured watermelon at the finish (a really nice way to rehydrate) and arranged the same treat for runners in the Perth 10k. With watermelon juice dribbling attractively down my chin, I stood and enjoyed the sunshine and a chat with some of the other runners. Thank goodness I took the now traditional medal photo BEFORE the watermelon!
Local business Caledonian Physiotherapy was also on hand at the finish giving sports massages to raise money for charity. The massages were of decent length and since it’s been a while since I had a leg massage, I joined the short queue and made my donation. My legs felt great afterwards so I’m glad I waited!
Going into this race I knew I wasn’t on PB form. Last year, in hellish wind, I ran the race in 54:30. Earlier this year, I thought I could run it quicker, however after all my injury woes my only target was to finish in under an hour. As I made my way back to the track I checked my Garmin and was shocked to realise I wasn’t going to be as far outside my PB as I had expected. I finished the race in 55:50 and was delighted! When I began to train again this summer it was taking me over an hour to run the same distance, so this race showed me just how much I have achieved in a relatively short period of time.
There was once last surprise to come, with the publication of the local paper on Tuesday morning and Fraser’s photo appeared rather prominently!