However, there was one new race added to the series and I really fancied giving it a go. So. I entered the final race of the series which was a 2,000 metre track race at my running club's home track, Central Park Athletics, in Central Park, Dartford.
|start [photo: dani]
If you haven't read all about the series, please have a quick read of my Run Dartford information page or visit the official Run Dartford webpage and read about it there.
I'd never run a 2,000 metre track race before - the closest I had done would have been a 1 mile track time trial, or 1,500m or 3.000m races. The exact pacing was going to be just a fraction off 1 mile pace.
I had run just under 6 minutes for a 1 mile race a couple of months earlier so I knew that I'd be able to easily run a sub-8 time and had an idea that 7.30 would be a good target with anything under 7.30 being an exceptional performance for me at my current fitness level.
|end of lap 1 [photo: alan]
With that in mind, I went over to the track a few days before the race to practice my pacing - my main concern being that I'd be dragged along too quickly over the first lap. The track session went well and I ended up doing 10x407 with each lap coming in at somewhere around the 90 second mark - just the right pace I need to run during the race.
On the night of the race I paid the £5 entry fee and had a nice warm-up run around the track with my friend Adam. It was mostly an easy pace, but we did include 200m at race pace followed by a few strides to get the legs in the zone for the faster pace required for the race.
|end of lap 2 [photo: alan]
The runners were divided into groups of similar ability and each group had their own heat - there were four heats in total. As I usually end up towards the front end of the field, I was put in the fastest group. This was good, but did increase the risk of being dragged along too fast during the opening lap.
So I hatched an opening lap pacing plan and before I knew it, the race briefing was happening and I was ushered over to the start line. The 2,000m race takes place over 5 laps of a standard 400m running track and with the race under way, I immediately placed myself at the back of the pack (that was the plan) as we headed around the opening bend.
|starting lap 3 [photo: dani]
The pace felt solid but comfortable during this lap and I moved up one position just after the 200 metre point. The fastest runners had already headed off into the distance, but I was now in a pack of 7 runners.
I spent the second and third laps in the pack, but on the outer edge running in lanes 2 or 3 which meant I was running further than I needed to (maybe 7-10 metres or so extra over each lap). For the record, I went through the halfway point (2.5 laps / 1,000m) in 3.45 which was perfectly on pace for the time I hoped I would run.
|end of lap 4 [photo: alan]
The pace of the pack started to slow during the third lap, so towards the end of lap 3 I knew I had to get myself onto the inside lane and have my own space. So I moved to the front of the pack and got myself over. Behind me, the pack then started to fragment.
Lap 4 went by pretty well and before I knew it I was on the final lap and slowly gaining on the runner in front. The final 100 metres saw me moving closer to the runner in front, but at the same time found myself being overtaken by the runner behind me. I pushed as hard as I could and then it was over.
|end of the final lap [photo: alan]
Individual and cumulative (x.xx) lap times:
Lap 1: 1.28 (1.28)
Lap 2: 1.30 (2.58)
Lap 3: 1.35 (4.33)
Lap 4: 1.30 (6.03)
Lap 5: 1.26 (7.29)
Looking at my lap split times I was pleased with the way my pacing had gone, the only blip was that third lap, but overall I finished in 7.29 which, being sub-7.30, was a fantastic result for me. The official results were published the day after and my time was confirmed.
|the series medal (completion of four races required to qualify for one)
Run Dartford 2017 series race results webpage
Run Dartford 2017 series consolidated results PDF
My GPS data
Official time: 7.29
Age grading: 66.74%
Position (by time): 11/53
Position (by age grading): 19/53