This weekend I will be lining up for my fifth Zatopek:10. I’ve had some mixed results at this race over the years, but I always want to come back. It is such a great race to be a part of, especially when I have a blinder race. It’s going to be my second race since the Olympics after the NSW 3,000m champs I ran the other week. I only run one 10,000m race in a year, and it is always the Zatopek:10. I would like to make the trek to Stanford and run on that magical night they always seem to get, but until then, this will be my Stanford.
I remember debuting over 10,000m in 2007 in the rain. I went straight to the back of the field and proceeded to click off seventy second laps. I did this successfully until about six kilometres. About this time I got caught up with some runners who wouldn’t let me past, surging whenever I tried to, but when I dropped in behind, they’d slow down and cause us to run a 73-second lap. It broke my momentum but I never lost my cool. I finally got past with three laps remaining and finished in 29:32.24. I was pretty chuffed with my debut performance at 10,000m.
I followed a similar tactic in 2009. I was mid pack from the start, making sure I was always in contact with the leading group. As I saw gaps open in front of me, I’d move around those in front of me and bridge the gap. I kept doing that as we approached 5k and was only a couple of seconds off the lead in 14:16. I kept moving up as the race progressed. I remember reaching 9k in 25:30, with only five of us left in the lead pack, and thinking “I could blow up and still run 28:30.” When the big move came with 900m to go, I tried to match it (failing however) and ran as hard as I could into the finish, stopping the clock at 28:19.39 for fourth. I was very very happy.
I guess what I am saying is that I have fond memories of the Zatopek:10 and I have proven that even in a 10k, if you pace it right you can run on well. Here’s to hoping that Saturday night will bring me a good result, and a fast time.
Please play nice Melbourne weather, I beg of you.