So Run Big Year finally got under way with the CAVC Cardiff Bay run on Sunday 2nd April. I had meant to blog about this before but unfortunately just didn’t get around to it until now. Better later than never though and so here is my belated report on the race.
The day of the race was warm and sunny. For the 2k family fun run at 10am I suspect the weather was just about perfect. By the time of the main 10k race it was possibly slightly too warm, although certainly nothing to complain about. I know some other runners have complained that there was only one water station on the run, but this was what I expected and have been used to in previous races. The Bay was looking absolutely stunning in the sun and it would certainly have been a shame if it was cloudy and raining!
I started in the red pen, which I think was for runners aiming for between 45min and 1 hour times. I couldn’t remember what the timings were from the pre race info and I don’t recall seeing it on the signposting at the event so I wasn’t quite sure where to position myself in the pen. To be honest I think most people just ended up in the order that they entered the pen rather than being ordered according to pace.
I should apologise to anyone who read my race preview, as this did not get the route quite right. The race started with a run up and down Lloyd George Avenue before heading through BBC Roath Lock and the Port of Cardiff. We then ran down the barrage but stopped short of the locks before looping round and heading back the other way. After returning over the barrage there was another little loop on Lloyd George Avenue to allow us a nice little downhill segment leading back to the start/finish line in Roald Dahl Plass.
The initial section of the race showed me that I had indeed started a bit further back than I should have and I lost some time making my way through the slower runners. As such my first kilometre was ran in 5:24.7, which was comfortably the slowest. A similar thing happened to me in last year’s Cardiff 10k and on that occasion I overcompensated by doing the second kilometre a minute faster, which was not sustainable. This time I managed to pick up my pace in a more gradual and measured manner.
Heading around BBC Roath Lock my pace was fairly steady at around 5min/km. I did slow a bit on the way down the barrage and looping back up – this was around kilometre 7, which was my slowest after the initial 2k. Part of this was also due to getting stuck behind other runners on the tight loop to come back down the barrage. Unfortunately the nature of the route did mean that there were some tight turns that caused bunching at points, most notably on Lloyd George Avenue and the aforementioned turn on the barrage.
The route back down the barrage is a fast stretch as it is slightly downhill and allowed me to build a good bit of momentum coming through kilometre 8. This continued through kilometre 9 around the rear of the Millenium Centre. By kilometre 10 I was feeling tired but knew I had a bit left in the tank. I kept steady for the first part and then kicked on after the turn back to Roald Dahl Plass on the second Lloyd George Avenue section. As mentioned earlier, this was a clear downhill finish and I got up to a decent sprint for the final 100m or so.
It was an enjoyable race and my chip time of 51:14 was faster than I was expecting to do and just 3 seconds off my personal best. With the fast finish I also set new Garmin records for fastest mile and fastest 5k at 7:41.9 and 25:06 respectively. I picked up no injuries and felt great afterwards. Altogether I could not have asked for a better start to Run Big Year.
So what’s next? I have just added a new race to the Run Big Year itinerary by signing up to the Cardiff 5k 2017 Race for Victory on 30th April. I’m quite excited as I have never raced a 5k before! Expect to hear more about that soon, but for now that’s quite enough from me.