Richard Perry

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George's First Full Parkrun Race Report: Cardiff Half Marathon...

Race Report: Mic Morris Torfaen 10k

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Race Details  
Event Mic Morris Torfaen 10k
Date & Time 17 September 2017 09:00:00
Distance 10k (downhill)
Type Road Race
Time (PB) 38:10 (43:27)

Mic Morris was a police officer and brilliant British international middle distance runner from Pontypool who died aged just 24 years during a training run in 1983. The trust fund was set up between Gwent Police and Torfaen Council to raise money for Torfaen’s elite young sports people, specifically for young people aged 11 to 21 who live in Torfaen.

The Mic Morris Torfaen 10k is a fast, downhill road race that starts in Blaenavon and finishes in Pontypool Park. The plan this year was to run the race with Rosie to try to help her get a new PB, and maybe even break the 1 hour mark for the 10k. Unfortunately, the world conspired against us and Rose had to pull out of the race 10 days before. We were both a little disappointed but, looking on the postive side, it gave me the opportunity to see how I would do on a fast, downhill 10k race :grinning:.

In the lead up to the event, since doing Gloucester City Marathon at the beginning of August, my training has been a little lacking in structure and consistency. This meant that I had very little confidence in my abilities, but I thought the marathon training would at least get me through the event in a reasonably quick time.

On the morning of the event, I got myself sorted and jogged to Pontypool Park to catch the bus up to Blaenavon. Thankfully this felt good so my hopes for a sub-40 minute 10k came back into my sights :grinning:. On arrival in Blaenavon, I huddled into the Race Headquarters to keep warm whilst waiting for the start of the race.

At 8:40 we all headed out to join the masses already gathered at the start line, had a little bit of a warm up jog then lined up ready. There were a few complaints that the race was starting on an uphill, but given the rest of the course is downhill, I thought it was only fair :wink:. The mayoress gave a rousing speech (at least I assume it was a rousing speech, but unfortunately no-one could hear a word she said), then the gun was fired and we were off.

In my usual manner, I pushed hard right from the gun and on reaching the crest of the first hill I noticed my pace was approximately 20 seconds per mile faster than my plan. However, given the race was downhill, I made the decision to stick with it for as long as I was able. I passed the first mile in 6:04 on the assumption that I would get slower and slower through the race. The first downhill section of the race is the steepest and as you get closer to Pontypool, the course flattens out with a downhill finish through the park.

I was running with Matt from Club and we were able to keep each other motivated so we didn’t slow down. We kept pushing hard whilst we were still on the relatively steep downhils section when we passed the 5k marker. I looked down at my watch to see that I had beat my 5k PB by 1:14 as part of a 10k race :open_mouth:!! Things were looking good for sub-40. The next mile was announced on my watch and it was another 6:05 mile. I knew this would be the last one at that pace, but if I just managed to hold the same effort level as the course levelled out, then I would surely achieve my aim.

The water station came and went, given the length of the race and how I was doing, I decided that I didn’t want to waste time getting a drink so pushed on. As we dropped off the main road onto the final stretch before the park, I felt amazing. This was the point where I knew I had done enough, all I had to do now was make sure I didn’t trip or anything stupid like that.

I hit the hill by Pontypool Museum at about 6:20 pace and suddenly felt like I was trying to run up Everest! The ‘hill’ into the park is nothing more than a slight rise normally but it took everything I had to get to the top today, at which point I had slowed to 8:04 pace. At least it was all downhill to the finish from there!

What little energy I had left I put into propelling me down into Pontypool Park with the hope that the momentum would get me over the line. The last quarter mile was a blur and I could barely stand after I crossed the finish, but I did it! I finished a 10k race in under 40 minutes! Not only that I finished in 38:10! A time that I would never be able to repeat on a standard course, but I don’t care :grinning:.

It was a fantastic race and I will definitely do it again in the future. The psychological boost you get from finishing a race like this is incredible. It gave me a lot more confidence for the Cardiff Half Marathon :grinning:.

At the same time as I was pushing myself to the limit, Rosie and George were getting involved in the Junior Fun Run in the Park. They both really enjoyed themselves and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are back again next year :wink:.

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