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Mark Armstrong: Trying to pace runner to new PB at Run Alton Towers

The writer describes their experience running a 5K race in challenging weather conditions, just above freezing and teeming with rain. They recount a moment before the race when they had to stop their daughter from turning blue by buying her a hoodie, and their daughter’s request to keep the hoodie a secret from her mother. The writer then proceeds to discuss the race preparation and their decision to pace a club-mate with a personal best of just under 23 minutes, despite the hilly route. They also mention their struggle to find a rhythm due to the rolling hills and steep gradients and the challenge of maintaining a good pace while tackling the difficult course.

The writer and their club-mate struggled with the hilly course, with the writer employing the tactic of taking advantage of downhill sections and managing effort on steep gradients. Despite the challenging terrain, the club-mate remained strong and fairly comfortable for the majority of the race. However, around the fourth kilometer, the club-mate began to show signs of fatigue, prompting the writer to provide encouragement and keep them pushing hard. The writer notes that the course felt like hill after hill, yet the cool surroundings of Alton Towers and the determination to finish strong propelled them forward.

Finally, as they entered the final kilometer, the writer and their club-mate attempted to increase their pace, with the club-mate crossing the finish line in 23:55, just shy of a personal best. Despite this, the writer notes that a personal best may be attainable in the future on a flatter course. Reflecting on the race experience, the writer expresses admiration for their club-mate’s effort and determination, hinting at the possibility of a personal best in the near future, and concludes by encouraging the reader to “watch this space.” Overall, the writer’s account provides a detailed and engaging depiction of the physical and mental challenges faced during the 5K race, highlighting the resilience and determination of both the writer and their club-mate.

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