This was my third time running the Mersey Tunnel 10k, a race that starts in Liverpool city centre, and finishes in New Brighton on 'the Wirral' by going through the Kingsway Tunnel.
The Kingsway Tunnel is a road tunnel under the River Mersey and runs (see what I did there) between Liverpool and Wallasey. It is one and half miles long and is the' brother' tunnel of the Queensway Tunnel which runs between Liverpool and Birkenhead (which coincidentally, and rather coolly, features in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1)
Due to this the race is a point to point course - a bit of a rarity these days.
The weather started out brilliantly - a nice warm summer morning with a hint of a breeze. My plan was to start out quickly as the course had a large downhill section in the tunnel before a a climb to get out and then a sharp rise upon leaving the tunnel. I figured I would 'get ahead' in the first half of the race where it was a faster section allowing for a bit of slower second half due to the course conditions.
The first part of my plan worked very well - I completed the first 4kms in a fairly quick 15:20. After this I pretty much lost my pacing as I was now in the tunnel and my garmin had lost its signal. Many people wonder what the air is like in the tunnel, and if its claustrophobic or scary to run in.
Truth is, the air is a little stale, nothing more, and I never feel claustrophobic or scared in the tunnel.... I don't normally get claustrophobic, and it really didn't cross my mind - I was too focused on my running. Having said that, there is a bloke from my running club who doesn't do this race as he hates the tunnel.
So, 4km in and I'm thinking, "sub 40?" but I quickly pushed those thoughts away, especially as the tunnel began to rise! It's not the ascent in the tunnel that gets me; it's on exiting the tunnel - there is a sharp left with a really steep climb that sucker punches the legs and breathing.
After this point the race is half done and runners make their way onto the nice flat promenade. I somehow missed the 6km marker so when I finally hit 7km I didn't worry about my time and tried to finish strongly. I knew sub 40, and sub 41, were out of the question as the steep climb out of the hill as well as the sun, which was now beating down, zapped energy.
The finish line was soon in sight and the crowds began to thicken, I raised my pace for a sprint finish and crossed the line, happy, drenched, and knackered!
Final Race stats
Final position: 144/2852
Final position: 144/2852
Garmin here (although it's a bit all over the place due to losing signal in the tunnel)
A decent medal and really good quality technical t shirt (which isn't actually a half bad fit for a change)
The Mersey Tunel 10km is a fantastically novel race. Add in it's brilliantly organised, as well as a quality medal and technical t-shirt make this probably, my favourite race there is. It's not really a PB course, but then sometimes, that's not what running is all about
The time was a season's best and I worked really hard for it, but it felt brilliant. Despite not training as much as I'd like I feel like my fitness is really coming along.