Last Sunday I ran in the Run For All Bury 10k. It was the first event of its kind to be held in Bury and I didn’t know what to expect. The race itself was really well organised from the start and the atmosphere was excellent the whole way around the course. I finished the race with a personal best time of 50.54 which, given the steep incline during the second half of the race, felt extremely rewarding.
I was invited to be a part of The PAT Pacers for this event, a team of runners who had all met through physiotherapy in one way or another. Although we chose to run at our own pace, running for The PAT Pacers added an extra incentive to race day, one which I thoroughly enjoyed. The level of experience in the team varied from seasoned marathon runners to those just starting out in the sport, we all had one thing in common, the will to have fun.
The crowds began to swell shortly after I arrived at 0830, as a result of the chilly September air I took refuge in a Costa Coffee shop where a number of other runners had gathered. A couple of serious athletes zig-zagged between the shops from an hour before the start of the race in order to keep warm, one member of The PAT Pacers team even chose to run from her house two miles away as the roads started closing hours before the race so that the route could be prepared.
The start of the race soon came around, pens had been set up at the start line according to a participants expected finish time. I started with runners expecting to finish around 50 minutes – I knew that if I could keep pace with them for at least some of the race then I was bound to finish with a good time and I could comfortably beat my previous best of 53 minutes. Starting higher up the field also came with another welcome advantage, as the starter pistol went off I almost instantly found myself running with people with a similar pace and stayed with them throughout the race. The starter instilled in everybody the need to be courteous to other runners and it was good to see that if people wanted to slow down, they pulled to the side of the course to avoid causing an obstruction to those behind.
Turning away from The Rock after the first kilometre the pace was quick on the steep downhill gradient. First, passing The Fusiliers Museum, then my old college Holy Cross, the support of those who had come to watch was fantastic. The race marshals did an excellent job of encouraging and directing runners as they passed and didn’t seem to relent even after runners passed them for a second time on their way to the finish. After two kilometres of fairly easy downhill running I was encouraged at my split times, I ran the first kilometre in exactly five minutes before clocking a sub-five minute second kilometre to leave me with a strong chance of finishing in a sub-fifty 10k! If only the second half of the race were to be that easy.
The most positive aspect of the race on a personal level was the ease with which I maintained a good pace. Whilst the notion of a good pace varies from runner to runner, the pace I ran at Bury 10k allowed me to set a much improved personal best for the distance.
The old adage what goes up must come down was reversed for this route. The first half of the race was easy whilst the half way point marked the start of the slow but steady climb back to the finish in Bury Town Centre. I was particularly grateful to the group of cheerleaders just past half way, and equally to the band of drummers that assembled on the main road for the lift that they provided. The route passed several key landmarks in Bury including the Fusiliers Museum, Holy Cross College and Close Park, as a result it benefited from fantastic support. As I ran through Bury town centre on my way to the finish line I imagined that it would not feel much different to run down The Mall in London on the way to the finish of the London Marathon (on a much larger scale of course!) such was the support. I crossed the finish line in 50:54 and immediately vowed to run the race again next year. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and, taking a walk around the finishing area where stalls had assembled to offer more races, massages and a bag drop area, I reflected on what a fantastic event it had been.
The I Will If You Will programme produced a video of the event which can be found on the link below. It gives you a glimpse into this fantastic event and is well worth a watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rDmItsoCG4&feature=youtu.be&platform=hootsuite