Surpise PB – Dalby Forest 5K Park Run

Four months I have held back, like a dog on a leash restricted and contained. Building a base requires patience and discipline, but this weekend I could let loose, rid the shackles and test my speed (well, thats an exaggeration.)

This was my my first Dalby Forest 5K Park Run. Its an event which usually attracts upwards of 100 people of varying standards. The majority are there to keep fit and enjoy the day, but the front runners make up quite a pack of athletes. Just demonstrating how much local talent we have.

To most this is a none event and yet its sat on my mind all week. I’ve found myself lost in thought countless times, calculating what pace I can do, where I might finish and in what time. Restricted training intensity left me with no idea just how fast I am. My programme to date is capped at 5-10 minute intervals. I haven’t run 5K flat out for months.

But that is what today is for. A test of sorts to gauge where my training has taken me thus far. My previous 10K personal best is just shy of 49 minutes…I have never raced at 5K distance so set my sights on a sub 24 minute race.

The day began with a 20 minute, easy warm up ending on the start line. I joined the pack just in time for a race briefing and greetings with Jayson, Kim and Indie (Indie is the distracted dog above, not sure who is leading, him or Jayson.)

As the countdown begins I feel a little nervous, silly really but it comes down to my own expectations. Just before we hit one, I clock Geoff Wynn who is the 20 minute pace setter…ahh f*** it, lets see how long I can keep up!

‘One, go!’ And we’re off, as the jostling begins I try to settle in behind Geoff. The ground is wet and space limited but the field starts to spread out. I find myself near the front with Jayson and Indie flying off into the distance. Every minute or so I check in with myself, breathing heavy but not rapid, arms up, hip to tit, lean forward, steady hips.

After the first mile the front 7 have already disappeared, but I am keeping pace with Geoff who I imagine as a tall, bobbing number ’20’. He has a loose, almost Kenyan style. That long, easy stride looks out of place compared to my shuffle. Geoff would usually be with the front runners but for his pacing responsibilities.

I lasted the pace for about 4K, before the lactic acid started to build and my breathing accelerated. At this point Geoff left me behind alongside another runner, I finished the race alone but very happy. 20 minutes and 44 seconds, a new PB and 10th place to boot.

For someone who believed himself naturally useless in any physical activity, this was a surprise. The training and purposeful practice is certainly paying dividends, I’m sure I can do sub 20 minute with more work. After a quick chat with Jayson I headed off again for my 20 minute warm down. Very happy and feeling a little more confident that I am not completely useless at this running malarkey.

Dalby Forest 5K Park Run Race Results (Top 15)


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Darren Smith

Training with purpose since October 2016 Darren has gone from trailing the pack to winning local races and the times keep on falling. A true believer in hard work over natural talent he writes to help others realise their true potential. Darren's race schedule for 2018 includes the Hardmoors Wainstones marathon (1st place), Keswick Mountain Festival (10th place), Scafell Skyrace and Salomon Ring Of Steall (World Championship race.)

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