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Thame 10k: Race report

June 29, 2010

Runners arriving for the start of the Thame 10k in the baking heat.

Sunny, little wind, about 30°C

The Thame 10k is a popular race in Oxfordshire, what it lacks in scenery it makes up for in the fact that it’s flat and has strong PB potential. It also has a fearsome reputation for being hot. Really hot.

Last year a number of people were carted off in ambulances as a result of heat stroke or dehydration – which is pretty unusual for a 10k race. This year, taking heed of comments made, the organisers set up two water stations to make it a little less hard-going. However, even with extra water, the fact that there is nowhere to hide from the harsh midsummer sun on the course meant that another water station wouldn’t have gone amiss. (In fact, bottled water rather than plastic cups would have been much better, even if it had pushed up the race registration fee.)

With pacing my current bete noir, I set off way too fast quickly feeling the oppressive heat and trying to cut back on my pace. By the time I’d reached the last 2km, I was just trying to get to the finish for some water. The final kilometer has a sneaky hill that catches you while you’re weakened, so I pushed through the incline and, on reaching the final stretch of grass dug as deep as I could. In a – rather shameful – tribute to Wimbledon, I unleashed an effort grunt of epic proportions to just pip another runner to the finish line. I probably shouldn’t have, since I had trouble standing up afterwards and took way longer than I should have to recover.

Lessons learnt

  1. Build up pace in the heat, rather than kicking off at some kind of absurd pace. Granted, the same goes for how I run cooler 10kms.
  2. Take on water sensibly. I ended up throwing most of the water over my head to try to cool down. In retrospect, it might have been more useful to drink it…
  3. Yes having a big finish is great, but really it’s not always worth going hell for leather for the finish line. My recovery would probably have been a lot better had I not put everything into a final surge, and since a PB wasn’t in the offing, it probably was a wasted effort.
  4. If I don’t run this race next year, I’m having a barbecue. It’s guaranteed to be the hottest day of the year with blazing sunshine, so that might be a more pleasant way of spending my weekend.

Details

Time: 38:46

Position: 27 out of 825

Mile 1: 5:34 (3:30 per km pace)

Mile 2: 5:53 (3:39 per km pace)

Mile 3: 6:02 (3:45 per km pace)

Mile 4: 6:20 (3:56 per km pace)

Mile 5: 6:31 (4:03 per km pace)

Mile 6: 6:44 (4:11 per km pace)

Mile 6.2: 1:35 (3:52 per km pace)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Wazza permalink
    July 1, 2010 11:05 am

    Hi Lewis

    On hot days like that, wear a nice light cap soaked in water before you start. Even light coloured clothes can help. Hydrate fully the 2 days before the race, by drinking at least 2-3 litres a day – then its not critical to drink lots on the actual day. If you get the chance now, plan some hard sessions on the forecast hotter days to acclimatise a bit. Be careful of sunburn too – can that happen over there ??

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