The Sylvesterloop Elsloo 10K was my last race and run for 2010. It was also the only race scheduled until March when I'll run a half-marathon as a tune-up for Rotterdam. I was certainly looking forward to this race, because it would give me a good sense of my current fitness leading into marathon training. The 10K course consisted of 200 meters followed by 7 laps around a 1400 meter loop. It is a farily flat and fast course, but the only problem was that by the 3rd or 4th round faster runners would have to weave their way through slower runners who were being overlapped.
When the bull-horn went off I made sure not to go out too hard. The front of the race developed within the first kilometer. I counted 5 runners ahead of me, 4 of the 5 runners I knew (later found out the other runner's name was Vincent) . By the 2nd lap I only had the 4th and 5th runner (Vincent and Patrick) within sight, about 20 meters ahead of me. The first three runners pulled away and eventually went on to take the podium placing. On lap 5 I began closing in on Patrick and Vincent. The back side of the loop course is a very slight gradual incline, ~5m elevation gain over 600 meters, and it is where I picked up my pace and caught Patrick. I was now in 5th place and approximately 10m behind Vincent. I thought that somewhere in the 7th and final lap I would be able to overtake Vincent. That never happened as the freezing cold got the best of my lungs and had to settle for 5th place.
I was happy with a 5th place finish, but even happier and shocked when I crossed the finish and saw the time on my watch read 32:58, a 17 second PR. I couldn't believe it! I had no idea during the race that I was running somewhere close to low-33 or sub-33 10K pace. And even if I had looked at my watch during the race it would be extremely difficult to see my running time, because it was dark and there was only limited lighting on the course (night race). Here are the results and a sports news coverage of the race (wearing a green singlet w/ black arm sleeves).
I'm thrilled not only to have ended the new year with a 10K PR, but also to go into 2011 and Rotterdam marathon training with a good level of fitness.