Delayed report from Peter Simpson on the final race of the 8-race East Midlands Grand Prix Series, all held midweek.
The Milton Keynes 10K was only my second of the series, the other one being the Rugby 6 miles. Qualification for a series race position was five events. Normally it is a hot and humid end to the series but this year conditions were fairly comfortable. The venue as normal was the Open University with the start on the Woughton playing fields. Ahead of the start I warmed up by visiting the exit to the field to check for any wet area, in fact it was surprisingly dry but the main exit gate was locked with other options fairly narrow plus a cattle grill. We were warned before the start but there was still congestion as most runners took one option.
Due to few recent races I was not expecting a fast personal time but being a home event I tend to do better and it is a course where I have run my 2nd & 3rd fastest times. Most of the entrants are club runners so a competitive field was expected. I started slowly and gradually increased my pace and moved up the field. The course is fairly flat with some dips for underpasses or climbs for bridges. After 7K there was an unexpected change to the route taken by the runners ahead, instead of staying on the cycle path parallel to the dual carriageway, runners diverted down a pedestrian pathway towards Woughton playing fields and eventually under the road towards the finish, cutting about 2K off the distance. There appeared to be either a missing marshal or sign but knowing the course well, I stayed on the well trodden path except this year with just one runner ahead questioning their decision and allowing me to pass him.
Suddenly I felt like I was leading the race with no other runners ahead in sight and it was not until I saw the 8K sign followed later by marshals that my decision was indeed correct. I continued to run well boosted by the situation and as the course curved down and under the bridge I could see more runners following me. The challenge was to continue to stay ahead as the course headed for the Open University ring road. It was only in the final 100-200 metres that I was passed. At the finish there were other runners but not as many as normal, suggesting other runners had rejoined the course after admitting their mistake.
I did not know my time until the next day but was pleased with 42.36 with a gap of 100 seconds between
40:50 and 42:30. The next runner behind me turned out to be the UK’s leading female V60 who I understand has run world leading age group times.