Sunday 7th June 2015 was the third time I took on the Mersey Tunnel 10k, which is usually the race I look forward to most in the year, and the course of my 10k PB. I knew I wasn’t in PB condition, but wanted to get round in a progressive time compared to my previous 10k races.
I didn’t really pay much attention to the race instructions as I ‘knew’ where it started. After I parked up I watched a few runners walking the wrong way to the start line; ‘look at them’ I thought, 'going the wrong way, obviously newbies to the course'…
…Soon what can only be described as huge swathes of runners were going the wrong way to the start line; it was at this point when I started to doubt myself about knowing where the race started. Turns out you should always read the race instructions in case the start line is moved compared to previous years.
After consulting the race instructions and
If you haven’t read my previous report on this race (I wouldn’t either) then you’ll know that the route takes you from Liverpool, through the Wallasey tunnel and into… Wallasey...It’s the tunnel-y bit which is essentially the pull & appeal of the race.
Unfortunately, the moving of the start line, which was to a very narrow side street, meant once the 2,800 runners were sent on their marching orders, caused a very congested opening several hundred metres. Added to this was that the tunnel was right after these opening several hundred metres.
The tunnel starts off as a downhill before levelling out and then turning into an incline. Congested start and downhill = lots of runners racing ahead, but slowing down when they hit the incline, which = a lot of dodging if you don’t slow down with them.
After getting out the tunnel the route opened up on to the streets before tracking the prom for the final half of the race. It’s always a nice view looking back across the Mersey to The Liver Birds and all the other great architecture in Liverpool.
I'd lost my mate in the tunnel, but we'd agreed if this happened to just meet up at the finish line.
Having conquered the toughest part of the route and being on the prom allowed me to focus on maintaining the quickest pace I could through to the finish, which wasn't that fast at this point.
I was however given somewhat of an adrenaline rush at around 7km when my name was screamed in a somewhat satisfied tone* by a race marshal. The marshal in question was a young lady, and as I'm not used to young ladies screaming my name in a satisfied tone (or any kind of tone if I'm honest), I was flooded with a surge of adrenaline which allowed me to (try to) raise my thumb in thanks, smile, and up my pace for about 20 seconds.
Following this encounter I plodded on and having turned a dog leg corner to face some headwinds the finish line was in sight; I upped my pace and crossed the finish line, absolutely knackered.
Final Race Stats
44:25 - slower than my previous two 10ks this year, but a very much tougher course given the congestion at the start and profile of it.
The medal was, as usual, excellent. A decent technical tee and one I would wear in the winter months to be seen due to its fluorescent-ness (if I were to not horde my race t-shirts away), and a nice little goody bag:
I'll continue to run this race every year because of the opportunity to run through the Wallasey tunnel, but unfortunately I don't feel its the same as it used to be given the moving of the start line.
* this is total embellishment on my part in an attempt to be funny (I know, I should leave that to the hilarious Jay at Born to Plod)