Last night I ran the Phoenix 10k, Spanish plumes notwithstanding, in my fastest time for nearly eighteen months. I hope this may represent a return to form. It’c certainly better than the 60+ minutes I’ve been recording since over the distance more recently, though those were nearly all on hillier courses.
The Phoenix 10k is flat, flat as Norfolk. My Garmin recorded 9m of elevations, but I think that’s not a true reading. Unsurprisingly last night the winner was Benjamin Tickner of Phoenix, recording 30:05, which I believe is a new course record, and my fellow Seaford Striders recoded some impressive times. See the results at Sport Systems.
The race is an out and back, heading west from Hove Lawns to Shoreham and back, and taking in some of the route of the Brighton Marathon, known as the road to hell. That much is clear from the race description; what they don’t tell say is the olfactory nightmare the sensitive runner will have to endure. It starts with the gents loo at Hove Lawns, which smells as only a seaside public convenience can on a warm day when there have been plenty of visitors. Then there’s the ubiquitous stench of barbecues, burnt burger with top notes of lighter fluid, and, in the background, the heady smell of the sweet scented cheroots that so many of the residents of Brighton and Hove favour. As the route nears Shoreham other, more industrial themes emerge, fish, rubber, solvents...
I found myself running at the same pace as a raucous group from one of these new-fangled runners collectives, who yelled encouragement to each other and celebrated in a decidedly un-British manner whenever they passed a kilometre mark. It can be alienating to find oneself in the middle of what is essentially a cross between a club run and a hen night. From time to time I would try to break clear of them, but each time they caught me again. Still, I should be grateful to them, as they kept me going at a good pace.
For once, I had absolutely nothing left at the finish. I managed a sort of sprint for the line, but after that….this means I judged things more or less correctly.