Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why is it so hard to run a fast 5k?

Tonight, for some strange reason, I decided to go to Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld to take part in the inaugural Broadwood 5k. I find 5k a very difficult distance to run, and knew it would be hard. I don't really have the natural speed in my legs for 5k running, and added to that I had done a really hard and fast 10 mile run round Edinburgh last night. Despite all that, I felt it would be a good race, which would hopefully give me be a good workout before next week's 10k at Irvine. And so it proved.

The event was based at Clyde FC's Broadwood Stadium. It's the first time I've been there and I have to say I was really impressed with it. As well as the all seated football ground (which I think has a capacity of around 7,000), it also has a leisure complex, all weather football pitches, and a gymnastics academy. It's the ideal type of community facility, and I would like to see other towns do a similar thing, such as Ayr or Paisley for example. But that would require a bit of imagination to be shown by the various councils, which means it is most unlikely to happen.

But I digress. The race itself was billed as a fun run, with the emphasis on taking part and no prizes for the winners. The gun was fired and, as is often the case, some of the juniors shot off at a respectable pace for a 400m race, but far too fast a pace for a 5k. After about a kilometre the course went round a sharp bend, and I was able to count that I was in 22nd position. Although I caught a few people over the next kilometre or so - mostly youngsters who had gone off too fast - it wasn't easy. I felt as though I was working as hard as I possibly could, but didn't seem to be going very quickly.

After much huffing and puffing I was pleased to pass the 4k marker and see the stadium in the distance. I kept pushing as hard as I could, but despite my best efforts someone just caught me in the last 50 metres. I finished in a time of 19.29, in 15th position from 147 finishers. The time wasn't great - my PB for 5k is 17.41, which puts it in some perspective - but a number of people commented that their times were a bit slower than they had hoped for. I think that possibly reflected the fact the course was a bit twisty in places with a few sharp turns. These do tend to slow you down a bit, and mean you can't get any real momentum. On the other hand the course was probably fine, and we might just have been making excuses for a poor run....

My thanks go to the organisers, Kirkintilloch Olympians. The name puzzles me - I would be interested to know whether they have ever had any Olympians within the club, or whether it is just a bit of wishful thinking on their part. They certainly did well in issuing the results so promptly - although results issuing is not an Olympic event, unfortunately - and these have been posted already on their website at the following address:

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