So with Niall's much planned departure on the horizon it was time to step up to the mark and give the JPM Hare and Hounds five mile(ish) handicap a spin. Martin assigned me a start time 30 seconds ahead of Niall which I estimated would mean being overtaken in Green Park while Niall played down the idea of catching me at all.
After a morning relaxing listening to the sweet melodies of "The Best punk album in the world...ever" and drinking coffee I set off ready for action. On the start line (well crack in the pavement) waiting for the word to go I had three things going round my head:
- Don't go off too fast.
- Don't forget the route.
- Don't get run over.
The first section along The Embankment was into a strong headwind so mindful of the first point I took it steady. Followed the correct roads through to Whitehall (second point) and didn't get held up crossing the road. On Horse Guards Parade I glanced back to see 30 seconds Niall a lot closer than 30 seconds behind. He must have mullered the first mile. Pushed on regardless, not sure if he'd now catch and overtake or keep a watching brief.
Was overtaken by a hound (or is it a hare?) on Birdcage Walk and then by another in Green Park, but still no Niall. Three miles in, with the Green Park hill behind me, I was safely back on The Mall having not been delayed by tourists, traffic or marching bands. Not wanting to be too easy a target decided to keep to the centre of the pavement weaving in and out of tourists as required - out of sight out of mind maybe?
Back through Horse Guards Parade and again no delay - why can't all my runs be like this? Was overtaken for the final time on Whitehall Place - but not by you know who. Powered back along The Embankment with the wind behind me. Pushed as hard as I could but was only able to close slightly on a couple of runners in front.
Finished the 4.8 miles in 32:32 with absolutely no complaints or excuses. Race strategy was fine - first three miles steady 6:50 ish. Then upped by the pace by 10 seconds per mile for each of the last couple of miles. No interruptions or hold ups, I didn't get run over and I didn't finish last - hurrah!