RPTT: A surprise PB on a glorious autumn day

As I was down in London over the weekend, I thought it only made sense that I try and get along to one of the growing number of UK Time Trial events, and as my friends Dave and Sharon were helping out with the 3rd ever Richmond Park Time Trial, that seemed the place to go. They were taking part in a club “mob match” later in the day.

We had booked a hotel right next to the Richmond Gate entrance, so it was easy to get to the start first thing in the morning. Of course, a few beers and a hurried meal the night before didn’t exactly mean it was what you’d call ideal race preparation! Plus I’d been warned it’s a slower and tougher course than the Bushy Park Time Trial I’d run in September. No matter, I was feeling quite good, and even had a bit of hope I’d be able to improve my previous 5k personal best time of 00:23:41: My recent training sessions with my club have been hard, but productive, and I thought I had a good chance of getting a good time out of it.

I took a while to find the start as I hadn’t brought a map with me, and the event is still quite small compared to BPTT, so no obviously large numbers of runners. But got talking to a runner who was waiting for *something*, and turned out he was a regular. So I was in the right place. After a warmup, and the numbers grew, we were given an overview of the circuit, and sent on our way on what was a glorious autumnal morning.

The first half was fast – felt slightly downhill – which was deceptive. My splits were even in the low 4 minutes (4:30, 4:07 and 4:37), until the 3k-4k distance, when the course returned towards the start and got more of an incline: Ouch. Splits then of 5:03 and 4:57. Got to the end and my watch said 24:20, and I’ll confess I felt tired and disappointed. I’d run hard, but (seemingly) not come close to my PB of 23:41. Clearly the beers had a lot to answer for!

Dave – out on photographer duty – managed to capture me along the way. You can see his highlight photos at rowephoto.co.uk, and all of them at the RPTT site: Some stunning pictures in there that showed what a lovely day it was. Sharon had been helping with the timing with a very impressive looking timing device. Very neat it looked too.

So whilst the seeming lack of a PB was a bit of a downer (remember, it’s the journey, not the destination!), Frances and I then had a thoroughly enjoyable catchup with Dave and Sharon, and some of the other runners and volunteers in the Pembroke Lodge Cafe (a wonderful ‘discovery’!), before everybody went on their way.

On returning to Glasgow the good news about my race time came through: I was delighted to discover that my official time was much better than I’d thought! 00:23:18 – A PB of 23 seconds! The reason for the discrepancy was simply that I’d mucked up with my Garmin whilst warming up, and not reset it. Doh!

So a new PB to my name on a harder course than my other 5k runs. That *should* hopefully mean I stand a decent chance of breaking 23 minutes in the not too distant future 🙂

Great stuff, and a big thank you to everybody who took part and helped organise the event.

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