Thanks to Mark Franks for the following race report:
Having struggled a bit on the last couple of races I did the month before, I decided to run the race as I thought it would be good for my confidence. Also partly as it was the closest race to my house other than the Blackbird Leys Mile, and being described as a very flat fun run, I thought it would be a good race to measure my fitness after getting injured in October.
The race route was supposed to be 3 laps around the athletics track, 3 laps around the park, 3 loops of Westhill Farm, and a final 600m around the track. As the farm was very boggy (not surprising as it is the bottom of Shotover Hill) the route was slightly modified and did an extra bit beside the track instead of around the farm.
It was reasonable weather for a January race, dull and cloudy but not too windy, so I was optimistic about getting a decent time when I set off for the mile cycle to the race. I thought about walking to the race but decided a mile cycle sounded like a good warm up, as I had already paid for the the race I saved time queuing in the much longer line to pay on the day, instead I only had to line up in a much shorter line to just collect the race number. I spent 20 minutes or so warming up before the race started.
During the race I got a bit carried away doing the 3 laps around the track at start, being primary a 10k and Half Marathon roadrunner it was a bit of a novelty running on a proper running track. I have run around the Roger Bannister running track a couple of times before, as I used to get in free when I work at Oxford University but never part of a proper race.
After the first section of the laps around the track I decided to just see how long I could keep the pace up for and I noticed they had a 5k marker so I thought even if I slowed down a little bit I should at least get a PB for 5k. By the time got to the 5k point I had beat my PB by 24 seconds; I was really pleased but thought I would see if could beat my 10k PB as well. In the end, I finished the race in 47:22 which was 6 seconds short of my personal best at last year's Town and Gown. It was a bit disappointing that I only needed to run each mile a second faster and I would equal a PB; I beat my 5k so I can not be too disheartened. I am now looking forward to future races and hopeful I will convincingly beat my 10k PB in the spring.
As for the race itself, it was reasonably priced and well organised there were lots of marshals and a few spectators braved the cold January weather to watch from the grandstand. I liked running on the track and being very flat had great PB potential. I liked running a smaller sized raced (about 260 people took part) as I am used to running like Bupa 10,000 around central London with fourteen thousand other runners which gets very congested.The results were not ideal as they were a table, which you had to match your name with race number which was a bit annoying going through the results to get my official time. The T-shirt was a bit rubbish even for race T-shirt standards it was just advertising races. In short, I enjoyed it and would do it again