Swanage SSRC 10k / 9.75k

I ran Swanage Sea Rowing Club’s annual run each year from 2007 to 2010 in its original incarnation as a four mile fun run. Since its reincarnation in 2013 as a 10k yesterday’s race was my first.

I started out with a target of 40:30 in mind since I knew the course was undulating/hilly. As I wouldn’t be making a PB attempt. I did a minimal taper; modifying the preceding two runs from a Thursday 20k long run and an easy 10k on Saturday to two easy runs of just under 10k on Wednesday and Friday. Taking into account the constant elevation changes I didn’t run to a pace target, but rather set out to maintain my effort by heart rate. From the start we gained about 26 metres to the high point of the course at one mile. Noting my heart rate of 154, and that I’d averaged a pace of 4:09/km climbing to this point, I decided on 155 as my target heart rate for the remainder of the race.

first

Since Swanage Sea Rowing Club’s annual event reincarnated in 2013 as a 10k, yesterday’s was my first.

The undulating course through country lanes and quiet seaside town roads made for an enjoyable and quite exhilarating run. The roads weren’t closed to traffic, but this had almost no impact on my race. In addition to the excellent marshals there were quite a few clusters of supporters at various points on the course giving generous encouragement to everyone who passed. Beyond about three kilometres I was effectively running on my own having started immediately behind those actually standing on the start line and passed perhaps eight or ten runners during the initial climb and subsequent kilometre. I could see the two runners ahead of me for the remainder of the race, except when I briefly lost sight of them around a corner or over the brow of a hill, and used them to keep myself focussed. Not trying for a PB I didn’t push hard to reel them in, but held on to them to help ensure I didn’t relax too much. I remember noting that as my watched chimed 6 kilometres the time shown was exactly 24 minutes and so on target for something around 40 minutes. I think it was at this marker or perhaps at the next that I noticed my watch chime the completed kilometre exactly at the marker.

The final kilometre marker appeared just before the course joined the sea front and with the actual road surface absent during the road works it was absolutely necessary to run on the, still paved, pavement. Finishing uphill and back into the car park at Swanage FC the time recorded on my Garmin, 39:18 and just 14 seconds outside my PB set at the almost perfectly flat Brighton 10k in November, caused me to immediately check the distance field. I hadn’t been pressing hard and notwithstanding the ascents and descents I finished still feeling relatively fresh.

My FR620 showed 9.77km. Looking on Strava, which displays distances to one decimal place, the eight activity records I have seen are all either 9.8 or 9.7 kilometres. Present in equal number this, of course, produces an average of 9.75km; 250m short. [update March 2017, since my original post I have become aware that Strava doesn’t round to one decimal place, it actually truncates. Consequently, my original text now struck-through should read “9.80km, 200m short”]  Since it is highly unlikely that the eight runners all ran the perfect racing line I think the course was probably at least 300m [update March 2017, “250m”] short.

Having become a more serious, and for that matter GPS-device-owning, runner since my previous entries the status of the run has become more significant. I appreciate the presence of the word “fun”, in some descriptions of the event, is a strong indicator and the course doesn’t appear to be certified, but all the same I am mildly bemused that the organisers laid out a clearly short course for an event which they chose to describe as a 10k. Given how well everything else was organised – advance and on the day registration, marshalling, direction signs, post run water and medals, club house cakes and winners’ presentations – it seems bizarre. Not having run the 10k in either 2013 or 2014 it may be that the course was changed from a more accurate one to accommodate the significant ongoing road works which appeared in a couple of places on the course. Even so it would apparently have been a simple matter to add another 300m [update March 2017, “250m”] 

Again running an event with both my step-dad Alan and brother-in-law Rob we entered as a team and at the winners’ presentations we claimed the team prize. It may well be that we were the only team, but the significant piece of carved Purbeck stone is still ours to keep until next year. I think it looks quite fetching on the Purbeck stone hearth, also adorned with a Swanage swan, at my mum and Alan’s house in Dorset.

At the winners' ceremonies we claimed the team prize. It may be we were the only group of runners who entered as a team.

At the winners’ presentations we claimed the team prize. It may well be that we were the only team.

results

official time
+ 200m
+ 250m
+ 300m
39:19
40:08 (projected assuming constant pace)
40:20 (projected assuming constant pace)
40:32 (projected assuming constant pace)
biometric summary average HR – 154
max HR – 160 (estimated personal maximum – 172)
average cadence – 188
approx start weight – 69.6kg
position overall – 16 out of 166
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