A stirring tale of a long-pursued PB, in the face of wind and gradient, from Stewart Boulton:
The Winslow 10K is not a big glamorous event… nor is it a classic race you’ll find pencilled in every runners diary… but this is a race that I will remember for many years… All because of the number 42. 42.
What’s so special about that number you may ask? Well 42 had become my Everest. For several years I have been competing in 10K races and have always been hovering around a 43 minute finish time DESPITE the fact I regularly run a Sub 42 10K on a treadmill. But I could never replicate my treadmill time on the Road for race day. That’s until a good friend told me to run at a gradient of 1.5%… so I did… again… and again… right up until race day…
I deliberately picked the Winslow 10K because it was a flat 10K Road Race with P.B Potential. Perfect Target for my objective. This was the first race the Winslow Lions had held, but you wouldn’t have guessed, as it was organised and marshalled very well indeed. A local school was used as race headquarters which provided all the necessary facilities such as the hall, changing rooms and refreshment area. The only downbeat thing I have to say about this race was the start… an initial lap around a rough playing field before heading out the school gates on to the road. After that the rest of the route was delightful… quaint village roads through rural countryside with nice scenic views to enjoy.
The course was mildly challenging, not flat “as advertised”, but undulating with a long incline towards the end. The gusty wind also added a degree of extra effort to the race. Personally, my race seemed to improve with every kilometre, with my first (around the field) being the slowest. After that I seemed to improve with every stride as I “warmed” to the challenge.
By the 7K marker I knew that I was in with a chance of a PB (42.39) and perhaps even the Sub 42 I dreamt of. I kept on pushing, even up the long incline, as I began to “clock-watch” eagerly. I gave it my all as I came into the home straight and in view of the school gates again. As I crossed the line I checked my watch… could it be true? Quickly, I asked the runner who crossed the line in front of me to verify… it was true… a SUB 42 1OK! A PB of 41.28… and not only that but my highest finish ever, 25TH!
And that is why I will remember the Winslow 10K for many years to come. I would also like to say Thank You to the Organisers and Marshalls on such a fine FIRST race… well done to all! Stewart Boulton