Sunday, 17 November 2013

Battersea Park Morunning 5k 2013

The Battersea Park Morunning 5k is now in its fourth year and I have run at every one of them. This time of year the park is looking fantastic as the trees are showing off their autumn colours.

battersea park - the pond and trees

As this is a flat and very fast 5k course, I set myself multiple time goals, with each one progressing a little from the previous.

Goal 1 was the very achievable: Sub-20
Goal 2 was the hopefully in good enough shape for: New course best ( currently 19.37)
Goal 3 was the top end of realistic goals: New personal best (currently 19.18)
Goal 4 was the dream goal should the day turn out perfect: Sub-19

a section of the run

Morunning is part of the whole Movember thing and raises awareness for mens health issues - it is also a time where we are encouraged to grow a moustache, or to use the trendy version - a mo! Something that as I'm not the hairiest of people doesn't come easy to me. Anyway, I tried.

terry collecting his race pack

My friend Terry accompanied me to run this race for the third time, we (me and the ladies) picked him up at 8am and continued on fairly traffic free roads over to Battersea and we were in the car park at about 8.50am. Car parking on Sundays is £2.50 for up to three hours.

my race pack

We had arrived so early because the race packs are not sent out in advance and we had to leave enough time to queue to pick them up and then to attach our bibs and timing chips, then to warm up and have time to visit the toilets. Finally we needed to get near the front of the pack as I didn't fancy starting in the middle of 758 runners, especially as I knew that I'd be finishing quite close to the front.


This year, as part of the entry fee the runners were all given Morunning headbands and these were given out along with the race pack. I had been looking forward to getting mine so once I had my hands on it, I unwrapped it and popped it on.


The nice ladies at the registration desk gave my daughter her own race number to wear, so she promptly had it attached to her coat and loved it! Thank you, nice ladies! After the photo was taken we did add here name to the white box, so for the morning so she became Mo-tilda! The marshals out on the course were great and even had some fun signs to hold up!

yes. we do!

The conditions were really good and actually very similar to 2012's race. It was dry with no wind and the temperature was around 7 or 8 degrees - not bad for mid-November when the forecast for the following weeks was for sub-zero temperatures and sensationalist headlines claiming the worst snow in the history of the world was on its way. The bottom line is that everything was in place for a good run.

on my way to the front of the pack

As 10 o'clock approached I hovered around the start pen entrance so I could get right to the front - just after 9.50 we were all allowed to move into the pen, and I'm happy to report that I made it right to the front. By the way, I used my New Balance 1080v3 shoes, which I love.

i'm in there making a funny face

The course that this event uses is a very simple two laps of the park starting and finishing at the band stand. The only part that requires any thought or adjustment of pace is a short (30 metres or so) out-and-back with a 180-degree turn around some cones that you do once on each lap in order to make up the full five kilometres.

another section of the course (cones to separate runners from vehicles)

After a countdown, the horn was sounded and we were on our way. I took off at a strong pace down the opening straight section and was happy to have started without being held up. I could focus on just running as hard as possible. I didn't check my stopwatch until I got to the 2km mark, but I know from my GPS data that my first km was run in a little over three-and-a-half-minutes - this is much faster than the pace that I could maintain for the entire run.


Fortunately my pace settled after the opening section and I reached the 2km mark in, I think, 7.21, the 180 turn slowed my pace slightly and I hit half-way in about 9.28. After this, I didn't check my stopwatch again until I passed the 2km marker again (so I was at 4.5k-ish) - I knew from here that I'd have about 2 minutes to reach the end...

the end

... the time on my watch at that point showed 17.08 so I knew I'd be finishing close to 19.00 minutes but I would really have to work hard to break into the 18's. I pushed as hard as I could without pushing myself into the vomit zone, as I reached the final 20 metre section I glanced at my watch and saw that I could just about squeeze under 19 minutes so I did everything I could to sprint but there wasn't really much left in the tank.


After the race the organisers gave me my participation medal, this year it was shaped like a moustache. I staggered out of the finish area and picked up some water. Post-run bacon sandwiches were given out to all runners, but as I'm vegetarian I passed and carried on over to the timing computer to find out my official time. All you do is type in your race number and your official finishing time comes up on the screen. It also gives you a print-out that's like a little receipt. It was brilliant having my result just minutes after finishing!

result print out

My official chip time was 18.54 and I finished in 14th place out of 758 runners. That puts me in the top 1.8 percent of the runners on the day. According to the running app Strava, I also set new personal bests for 400 metres (1.19), 1/2 mile (2.49), 1km (3.34), 1 mile (5.54) and 2 miles (12.06) during the run. It really couldn't have gone any better. After checking some age grading websites it seems that this finish time means I have broken the 70% age grade. The running for fitness website calculates it as 70.2% and the runners world website gives me 70.16. This means that I am possibly fit enough to run a sub-40 10k.

The full official results can be found here.

the medal deserves its own close up

As usual - a huge thank you to the wife for taking most of these photos to help me tell the story of the day and for agreeing to get up so early to accompany me to races almost every weekend over the last few months. It's a fun little event and I expect we'll be back next year too!
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