Arriving in Redcar in good time before the race, given the 20mph+ winds, it was clear that it would be difficult to expect a PB. Paul McGough had suggested to me going round in about 20 minute pace, then giving it everything at the finish to try and get inside that time. It certainly sounded like a good plan to me. Redcar is undoubtedly “The Windy City”, or at least it is when the 5k races are on. I only completed the one Coast Road 5k last year, dropping out half-way through the summer race because of injury and missing the autumn one because it was only a few days before the Middlesbrough 5k. Of course, last year’s Spring 5k was in similar conditions to this one, i.e. blustery, sod’s law that the two I didn’t complete were in calm conditions.
Prior to the race, Paul had given me a useful bit of tactical advice about coping with the blustery conditions. Paul, Eddie Meehan, Mark Behrens and myself started pretty much together as the race got under way with the wind behind us. Paul guided us through the first km in 3:55 which in normal conditions would be PB pace for me, but then we turned into the headwind for the next km. I must admit, even though Paul was just keeping it steady for his standards due to still having the 3 Peaks fell race in his legs from the previous weekend, I struggled to stay with him as he pulled away in the next km. Thankfully, a combination of him looking round for me, and me just to say keeping him in sight, meant I was able to catch up with him around the 3k mark. Once again, it was back into the wind for the last km, my time surprisingly quicker than I was expecting, just outside PB pace. Paul as promised, upped it in the last km, finishing strongly. Inside the last 400m, Mark Behrens overtook me, also finishing strongly. All that was missing was for Mark to give me the “Steve Ovett wave” as he went past. It’s not the first time that he’s pipped me at the finish at Redcar either! Paul and Mark finished in 19:54 and 19:55 respectively, with me a few seconds behind in 19:59. 10 seconds outside my PB, and my best time at a Coast Road 5k, so I was quite chuffed with that given the conditions. About 45s up on the same race the previous year, so I’ve got to be happy with my form going into the Spring and Summer road racing season. I’d even go as far as to say that in those conditions, that was probably a better performance from me than my PB at this distance. Paul pacing me along helped a lot. Not the first time that he’s paced me along in this race. A big well done to Mark Behrens too, finishing just 7s outside his PB. Mark’s been in good form in training recently, especially in hill sessions, and hopefully will continue to reap the rewards for his hard work.
The race was won by ex North York Moors and soon to be Gateshead Harrier, Matty Hynes in a time of 14:43. There was a strong field and some excellent times in what were difficult conditions. The first North York Moors athlete home was Dave Watkins in 17:26, carrying on his fantastic form.
Race photos can be found here: http://www.new-marske-harriers.co.uk/piwifoto/index.php?/category/244
Video of the finish can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDITUmVGxR0&feature=youtu.be