Photo Credit: © 2019 Robert Gale

Position: 136th/U23: 11th Time: 35:07

And we’re back racing in 2020! This latest installment of the Gwent League was my first race for over two months and, although I can be critical about some parts of my performance, I’m happy with how it went.

Currently, San Domenico men are sixth out of twelve in a first division spearheaded by Bristol and West Athletic Club. In other news I’m near the top 15 in the male U23 category in the series, with the two guys in 15th sitting on 61 points and me on 55. Securing the bag in the final fixture at Swansea would be a great way to end the season.

Anyway, that’s enough of points and positions. How was the day and how was the run? Well, I kindly got a lift to the venue with Phil. The venue being Chepstow Racecourse. The race didn’t actually take place on the race course, instead it was one small lap and two big laps of the inside perimeter.

At the start I got boxed in. I’ve seen photos of the start and I’m just like why are you that far back Haz?! It took a while to get out and my first kilometre was by far my slowest at 4:16.

For the next lap and a half on I stuck just behind Chris, a strong runner from my club. I feel like some people would get annoyed at a fellow club mate right next to them but he didn’t mind it and we worked together for a bit.

Going up the hill into the first big lap there were rows upon rows of people plus some photographers. I was looking out for Ron who sometimes gives me a bit of advice when I go past.

I think in all I was patient. There were opportunities at times to break and take like five people at once but instead I hung just behind Chris and we took runners one at a time.

Underfoot it was fairly firm, maybe not as much as Pembrey but enough to suit my running style. If I ever come up against thick mud like at the start of the Llandaff Fields course my energy is just zapped for the rest of the race.

I haven’t really mentioned much about my training recently, but the main crux of it involves adding a bit more pace to my easy runs, going to the gym and eating chicken. Basically the plan is to get stronger to handle the hills of XC and eventually Hastings Half Marathon at the end of March. At Blaise Castle I had a real mental battle and I think struggling up the hills was part of that, but although there was 100m of elevation I had no such trouble at Chepstow.

For the third lap I was trying to catch Ian, who is a very quick runner who somehow ran to Chepstow from Cardiff prior to racing. I just don’t know what to say about really, fair play. There was also Sam who I work with who was dropped a speedy last kilometre so I was never really catching him.

It’s funny how during some of your best races are the ones you feel okay doing and the worst ones are the ones when you feel absolutely knackered. An exception to that being Cardiff 10K 2019.

Anyway, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling it a bit coming down the last bend, but the finish line kinda crept up on me rather than me running to it if that makes sense. I reckon if there was an extra kilometre I would have been consistent enough to take a more places. But still, it’s my highest position of the season so far and frankly I’m not surprised with all the training I’m putting in. I will be writing a blog specifically about that but until then here’s the table;

  1. Bristol and West Athletic Club (8825)
  2. Aberdare Valley A.A.C (8404)
  3. Mickey Morris Racing Team (8121)
  4. Pontypridd Athletic Club (8074)
  5. Les Croupiers Running Club (8066)
  6. San Domenico Road Runners Club (7859)
  7. Neath Harriers (7589)
  8. Parc Bryn Bach Runners (7505)
  9. Cardiff Amateur Athletic Club (7065)
  10. Brecon Athletic Club (7023)
  11. Westbury Harriers (6949)
  12. Lliswerry Runners (5911)