Hoylake 10K - report

Conditions: ~15 C, lightish E wind (unusual direction which for once, meant it would be behind coming back)
Course: pavement, concrete coastal embankment, and "off road".

Officially this is marketed as a "fun run" - maybe because it exists primarily to raise funds for the Wednesday Special Needs Club, which provides facilities for severely handicapped children e.g. a sensory soft play area.
Not a race to be taken lightly though. A challenging, scenic course drew some 290 runners in what looked like near ideal conditions. In this, my first 10K for 2 years, I was planning to tailgate for the first 5K, then start working after halfway and see what happened.
Off we went and the first surprise was to see the 1K marker looming up after 2 minutes! Around and ahead of me I could see a dozen heads checking their watches as we passed it and could hear mutters of "that's wrong".
I was working a bit harder than I intended, but managed to sit in just behind a pair of runners. Past the 2K marker in 6:56 - short again - I definitely wasn't running at sub 35 minute pace.
Up & over the embankment wall & onto a track leading through Meols Common. Difficult terrain - found ourselves skirting churned-up, dried out mud puddles which did nothing for rhythm. Then down onto a soil & gravel path which likewise wasn't the easiest surface to run on.
3K in 11:08 - more believable. Things have settled down now - I'm 12th, still shadowing the same pair about 5m back.
Off Meols Common, left, thru a car park & back onto the embankment. 4K in 14:46. Wind's a bit stronger here, so I try to tailgate one of the runners in front. He's not having any - weaves from one side of the path to the other - first time anyone's ever objected! Can't blame him...
Halfway in 18:27 - we turn round & run the other side of the embankment wall. It's grassy but uneven, hard & rutted - risk turning an ankle over; so no chance to look up and see the rest of the field the other side of the wall approaching halfway. I'm getting dropped by the runner in 11th - not much I can do about that.

to be continued....


  • Relieved to pass 6K and return to the carpark. Some runners still coming the other way as we retrace our path through Meols Common.
    I'm starting to struggle. 11th is now well away and I can hear someone behind, closing. Terrain's really starting to take its toll - as I stumble back over the embankment wall, I'm overtaken. Oh sh*t - it's Chris Slavin (a mate, rival, beats me in longer races) - while I'm wallowing, he takes 20m out of me in no time. I'm not fit enough for these longer distances...
    Stop feeling sorry for myself and pass the 8K marker in 29:59. I got out to this point in under 7 mins - if I can hit the same pace now with the wind behind and Chris in sight, I can break 37 mins.
    These two incentives combine to get me moving again. Chris's lead has stopped increasing, and slowly, I start to reel him in as the ludicrously placed 9K/1K marker looms up again.
    One more check of the watch at just past 35 mins. The gap is back to about 20m again, but it's touch & go whether I can break 37. I gamble on a long kick & hope that Chris hasn't got a sprint left in him.
    He hasn't - I'm past him, but 36 mins has gone & that final bend still looks distant. Somehow I get there; the finish is in sight and I finally drag myself over the line, 12th in 36:57. Mission accomplished!
    Pleased with that - in particular that I found something in the tank in the last km. However, that sub-37 time (sub 6 min mile pace - allegedly) convinces me that the course must be short of 10K. No way did I run the off-road sections anywhere near that pace.
    Winner: Paul Cadwallader (Liverpool) - broke 32 mins & won by a street. Last finisher took ~75 minutes.
    Enjoyable race - would love to see it as an "official" NoEAA event if the course measurement could be sorted out.
  • Mike S,
    great run mate, really sounds like you put the hammer down in the closing stages which is never easy to do.

  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Mike, great reporting. Even if the course is short (and it may not be) it's still a great time. 12th out of 290 runners is excellent. You seem to have got quite a few good placings this year. Is next year going to be even better?
  • if I can find some weaker fields to run in ;-)
  • Excellent report - sounds like pretty even pacing to me - first half in 18:27 - got to be pleased with 12th. Did you get an age category prize?
  • Don't say it was short - I know the 1k marker was miles out but thought it evened out overall - I was quite pleased with my time till I read this!
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