Race Rundown: Sunderland 10k, June 20th 2021

So where do I start? One Sunday morning running with Pete (a surprise I know lol), we started discussing races and potential times. I said ideally this year I wanted a 50 minute 10K, and with currently running well, Pete said he would happily pace me round. Bonus, I thought, not knowing how my idea would potentially blow up lol. So the scene was set, Pete would pace me round. Then up pops Sunderland 10k and a message from Pete saying he’s in, 30secs later I had entered not knowing what to expect as I hadn’t completed it before. This is now where the pressure started to build, mainly from myself as I told everyone I wanted 50 mins, and my previous best was 52.09 (a section on the Thirsk 10 miler) so I knew I needed to push myself to achieve my goal…

Happy Fathers Day. Yeah very funny…

The day before the race the Harriers Sunday group page started to blow up with predictions of my time, which ranged from 48-49.59, I joined in and thanked everyone for their support… Race day, the nerves started to kick in and my thoughts turned to what if I don’t achieve my time, the adrenaline definitely started to flow around my body. We arrived at Sunderland where Pete parked his car ready for a free charge !! We quickly nipped over to McDonalds (me, Graham and Pete) for a pre-race coffee, then wandered down to the start.

So onto the race. We lined up and I remember Pete just kept saying to me you’ve got this and don’t go off like a loon. I stuck to his advice and off we went, both me and Pete went off together and I thought he was going to stick with me throughout. First K done I felt comfortable and still able to talk lol, second K just about completed and I hear Pete shout ‘keep going you’ve got this!’ and then a follow up of ‘4.37 for the 2nd  K’, and I knew then it was all on me so away I went on my own trying not to look at my watch.

I tried to pick off a few runners in front of me, and use them as a gauge and to keep me motivated, 3, 4,and 5K. I kept plugging away and managed to get an new PB over that distance of 22.31 which alone was a massive achievement for me. We then turned down onto the front and on came a few spots of rain. By this time I could feel myself getting tired, but I knew I had to push on, I took a sneaky look at my watch and it flashing ahead by 1.30 minutes. Think that gave me a little boost. I continued on trying to maintain average splits, and by 8.5k I had manged to take it to 2 minutes ahead, and by that point I knew I had given it a go.

Then the final long drag, a few people started to overtake and I knew I didn’t have anything extra at this point, I just needed to maintain it for the final 1/2k then the sneaky little detour around by the university put another slight incline in. I was digging deep and pushed through, over the bridge and onto the final straight. I tried to give everything I had left and looked at the clock and it was towards 47 mins. I think I crossed the line just before the clock time of 47 and there was Chris Lines saying ‘You smashed it well done!!’ as I then walked round to collect the goody bag my phone pings and the time comes through 46.43…

Not only did I achieve my 50 mins target I smashed it well and truly!! And as most have seen I honestly couldn’t have been happier. That’s officially about five and a half minutes off my best ever 10k time…

I do have to say a big thanks to everyone that believed I could achieve my goal and to Pete for keeping me grounded over the first 2k as I think otherwise I probably would have gone off way too fast. Now maybe the next goal will be 45mins….

By Mark Chapman.



Race Rundown: Whitsun Woodland Trail Run, 26th May 2019

I was asked to enter this event by a friend of mine as he had completed it last year, so me being me I thought ‘why not?’ as it was on the doorstep and not too badly priced to enter. Mind you the doubts had been creeping in after a conversation with Mr King during parkrun relating to what lies towards the end of the event…

So the day arrives and firstly I think to myself ‘where has the sun gone?’ as all I see is rain. To this then ‘what will be the best running gear to wear?’, I decide to pack a quick bag with plenty of choice and head off. On arrival to the event I firstly see Ian and Jayne both of whom have completed it before, and start to enquire about the dreaded hill. I then collect my number and get ready for the event. As the race draws closer we assemble at what was the train station, where I see Ray and Sam; luckily both have completed the race before too and Ray is able to give us a good guide as to where the run takes us, which is always a bonus.

Race time we all line up as I jump off the platform. I move further to the back as there is no way I want to be near the front. The race briefing starts then the count down begins, the hooter sounds then away we go, all 100 runners. I start off running with Chris and taking it steady, I see Sam up ahead but all I keep thinking is keep some energy back for the hill, the humidity starts to increase, making it harder to breathe, but I carry on.By about 1 mile the first water station I take the opportunity to grab one, and try to take a drink, from which I end up wearing it as it goes up my nose down and down my top!

I continue on and by about 2.5k I lose Chris, so I now look ahead and try to see who I might be able to catch. As the course reaches just over half way you veer off into the fields, me being super tall and all I lose sight of anyone as the rape seed plants are taller than me! I hear foot steps behind, so I know I’m going the right way, the guy behind eventually catches me and as passing says its getting warmer to which I agree. Then a little hill appears and I start thinking to myself this must be it, but it isn’t. Then my watch beeps to say I’m getting closer to the finish and in my head all I’m thinking is only a parkrun left to go. I see another marshal up ahead he says ‘keep it going, now long now’ and ‘only a few steps up ahead’.

‘This must be it’ I think to myself. I continue to power on up the little incline, then down the little slope, to be greeted by another marshal and I then look to the right and there it is, Mount Everest or so it seems! I shout to the marshal ‘what’s this?’ and she just giggles and says sorry. The next decision is the hill or stairs, I opt for the hill and start to run, I catch the guy in front and he spurs me on,.I continue to try and run up the hill/ mountain, it then turns to the right and proceeds to climb. It’s at this point the hill wins, I’m wondering where my safety rope is hidden as I start to slip slightly.

Once at the top it takes me a couple of seconds to catch my breath, then the final approaches. Luckily this is a slight downhill, which is always good, as the finish line approaches I power on and complete the 6.5 miles in a time of 58mins 27, which I was pleased with.

By Mark Chapman.