Beautiful clear skies and little wind, very cold though. Snatch a quick glance at the start line, feel pretty good about my chances, and we are off…
Put in a 1st mile of 4.53 to get an early lead, it works, but feels harder than it should. I’m muscling it. Have been doing physical labour all week and my upper body doesn’t want to stop now.
The course is roughly 4 miles out to the Great Orme, 4 miles round it (2 up, 2 down) then 4 miles back to finish where you started. I know if I can get up the Orme in the lead, then I will be hard to beat from there, as I’m better at descending. I have a 30 sec lead at the top and so I can afford to enjoy letting go on the downhill. I look out across the sea and there is Conwy Castle and the finish line 4 miles away, this is a very scenic race.
Everything finally clicks and I am moving along nicely. With 3 miles to go, and a growing lead, the only thing I have to worry about is the two marshals on the bikes. Up to now they’ve been very professional, escorting me and clearing any screaming fans (joking) out of my way. But suddenly they get to chatting, “have you done this race?” “Isn’t the weather lovely!” “Did you watch ‘Strictly’ last night?”. I guess I should feel flattered, they have obviously concluded I have the race wrapped up and they can switch off a bit. But I am still in the business of knocking out 5.05min miles. Not particularly easy, especially when you are torn between telling them to shut the hell up, knowing you will sound like an ungrateful diva, or joining in… “I don’t watch ‘Strictly’, but can’t wait for ‘Planet Earth’ tonight!”. I try and keep my mind on the job, I wonder if this sort of stuff happens to Mo Farah. I cross the line in 69.43, quite a good time on a tough course.
Great atmosphere, impeccably well organised event, thanks loads to everyone who helped out.
Russell Bentley is a TOTALOXYGEN ambassador.