Almost perfect conditions meant that some fast times were expected on what is a relatively flat course along country roads on the outskirts of Doncaster. As the field of 400+ lined up I wasn't sure what to expect. 1st race for over 4 months. Ideally I would have liked a 1:23 as this would show that I was capable of doing FLM in under 2:55. Key goal for today was to start off at a steady pace and finish strongly. I reckoned a pace of about 6:20 was feasible.
1st mile was slightly downhill and I wasn't too unhappy when I went through mile 1 in 5:51. Heart rate seemed a bit high but felt in control. As is normal 7 or 8 runners passed by in the 2nd mile but I was lying in about 20th position. Mile 2 in 6:06, still feeling good but waiting for the pace to drop. Miles 3 to 5 managed to share the workload with a runner from Scunthorpe. He was quite a big guy so got more help than I gave. 6:02, 5:51 and 6:12 splits put me through 5 miles in 30:03. Still felt good. The rest of the race was run entirely on my own, apart for the 1st lady breathing down my neck for a few miles, although she lost it a bit over the final miles.
Miles 6,7 & 8 were passed in 6:01, 6:10 & 5:58. At this point, still feeling surprisingly in control, I thought I might actually beat my PB of 1:21:27, but only if I didn't die over the final few miles. A spectator shouted that I was lying in 18th position but 17th was 1 min + ahead of me & the lady in 19th position was now out of earshot.
Went through 10 miles in 60:31, which is a PB for this distance by over 1 minute. Started thinking I could maybe beat 80 minutes. Mile 11 took 6:01. Mile 12 was the hardest, slightly uphill into the very slight headwind, and with nobody to shelter behind this was my slowest mile - 6:22. I had over 7 minute to do the final 1.1 mile. Should do it! Mile 13 passed in 6:00 leaving me with 66 seconds to do the final 0.1 miles to go under 80 minutes.
UNFORTUNATELY, the finish wasn't very well marked and rather than turning left, went straight on. The mistake was rectified quickly but I still couldn't see the finish, no banner, nothing. Had to jump over a fence to get back on to the circuit. Didn't even manage a sprint finish. Still not sure of my actual time but about 1:20:12, give or take 5 secs. Wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.
Lesson learnt - find out where the finish is before you start!
Race predictor says I should be capable of doing FLM in 2:47:30 - Yeah right!