This Sunday finally saw the highly anticipated Eastleigh 10k. This race was rearranged from the spring because of the snowy conditions, but as everyone woke up on Sunday morning to drizzle and grey clouds it didn’t really seem like the summer.
The race is on mainly closed roads which is great for running but comes with the negative of meaning an early 9am race start; which for the longer travelling members of our club (Naomi and Rob and others) means a very early start – kudos to them!
As everyone started to warm up the sun started to come up and the heat built, along with the nervous tension of many runners as they gathered on a start line. Eastleigh is great for having numerous pacers from 40 minutes up to one hour, so maybe one for any new 10k runners to target next year if you really want to achieve a time. It is also known as one of the quickest 10k courses around, so maybe one for you if targeting a PB.
As 9am came the race started with a frantic and quick start along Passfield Avenue. The front runners went off at a rapid speed, but most settled into their running. Even if there were a couple of tumbles from clipped heels in the front packs! The first 2k are flat and allowed most people to start to get into a rhythm, but the 4th and 5th Kilometre made sure that most people might not describe the course as completely flat in the future. Once 5km was completed and the longer drag had been dealt with it was nice to have one or two kilometres of slightly downhill running. This was the time when you realise whether you have paced the first half of the race correctly. At 6km you run back past the start line at Fleming Park and take a left turn into some of the housing estates. At this point the sun really started to shine and it started to feel much more like summer, and instantly started to reduce the pace, with some people suffering from the added heat.
Round a few minor roads, noting the 7Km marker which was at least 200m too far causing panic to some runners, and then you pop out on Chesnut Avenue, a long straight road taking you to the 9k turn point. You could almost sense the finish but had to resist the temptation to push for the finish too early. Back onto Passfield Avenue and there was only 1k to go, at this point it was about hanging on and seeing if you could keep the pace going. Into the fields of Fleming Park and there was only 400m left, a nice tree lined path with many spectators cheering you in to the finish.
Congratulations to all the runners at Eastleigh, there were some super quick times, and also some very good sociable club running proving its not always about running quickly.
by Dean Paulley