Race Review: Sunderland 10k 2023

A few moments of déjà vu between Sunday’s race and the weekend before!

Just like the previous week, I got on the Metro to meet folks from TMBR en route to the race (thankfully half an hour later than the week before due to a later start time). We had plenty of time in Sunderland to drop bags and get ready, which also meant plenty of time to be nervous. I said last week that I’d like to shave a few seconds off the big PB I set at Gateshead, as Sunderland is the fastest 10k course I know. However, I wasn’t sure I could do it two weeks running. It felt like a big ask.

I went off far too fast. No pacers to judge by this time and my first couple of miles were closer to nine minute mile pace than ten. It was fairly congested at the start and quite difficult not to be swept along with the crowd. I settled a bit by mile three but was through the 5k marker in about 29 and a half minutes – something I really wish I could replicate at parkrun at the moment!

I did suffer for it a bit in the second half but just about managed to cling on, though I did get overtaken by the legendary Deano, who runs these things with a wheelie bin strapped to his back, with about a mile and a half to go. One day I’ll be faster than the bin! But not yet. The last mile did feel like a long one and it was a bit touch and go, but I finished in 1:02:41 – a 16-second PB following the previous week’s 1:02:57, and a 2-minute course PB exactly. My watch didn’t think it was quite as fast a 10k though – I think Gateshead measures a bit longer than Sunderland!

Sunderland 10k
While I was last out of the four Benchies present, it was only by less than a minute. I am so grateful not to be finishing ages after everyone else anymore.

After three Sundays racing on the bounce I am ready for a break (and possibly the odd weekend lie-in), but I am so, so happy with the way the last few 10ks have gone. The next target is 59:59 at the Great North 10k in July. I’ve wanted a sub-hour 10k for the whole eight years I’ve been running but it’s never really felt feasible until now. Geth is going to pace me. I am hopeful.

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