The Launceston ten is a race that I always love to do because it is a big part of my local sporting community. Being born and raised in Launceston it’s good to be able to support the local races and it’s even better to get a good result!
Last year I went out with the ambitions of running sub 30 but because of the lack of training I was able to fit in beforehand, and some poor pacing I faded over the last 5k and finished in a very disappointing 31:42. I had achieved a 31.18 the year before that at age 16 which made the time even more disappointing. So this year I was out to redeem myself.
In the weeks leading into the race this year I had been training really well and was confident I could dip under the 30 minute barrier come race day. But then came the weather... Super strong southerly winds blew in and were going to make the return 5km trip home a struggle. This changed tactics completely and when talking with coach, Kim Gillard, we decided 30 minutes was still possible but I'd have to go out harder than first expected and try and hold on, on the way home.
From the gun it was clear Ben St Lawrence wasn't waiting around for anyone and with him went Liam Adams. For the first 5k I was able to sit in a large group of strong, classy runners that included Olympians Martin Dent and Lee Troop. We were running a bit quicker than planned, but because of the tail wind I wasn't concerned and just sat in and went with the group. We got to the 5k turn around in a touch under 14:30. Then straight after the turn the group began splintering, and runners began dropping one by one. Not long after the turn, Elliot, Dent, White and Ashkettel had got a small gap on what was left of the group. I wasn't sure if I'd take the risk and catch on because I knew if I got dropped I'd be in no man’s land a long way from home...but I tried, and after not long I had caught up and was able to sit on the back and recover for a while. After a while of just running with the group, the pace was starting to slow and I knew if we didn't pick up the pace we wouldn't be able to run under the 30 minute barrier that I was aiming for. I was hoping to be able to just sit in the group the whole way home into the wind, but I had no option. With between 3 and 4 km to go I went to the front of the Pack and picked up the pace in the hope that a few of the runners will be willing to go with me and work for the sub 30 minute time. I didn't look back to see if there was any affect in the group, but thankfully for me after not too long Dent came back to the front to help me set the pace. After a short time though I was on the front again from the 7km point until around 1500m to go when Ben Ashkettle surged and gapped everyone in the group. Dent came around me and held a 10m gap to Ashkettle, I really had to dig deep here to stick with Dent and I managed to. Just.
In the last 500m there are two short hills, the kind of hills that wouldn't bother many runners most of the time, but at the end of 10km they hurt! A lot. It wasn't just me feeling it though, as on the first hill (more like a bump) I passed Dent and was then after that sub 30 minute time. I was going all for nothing towards the finish and managed to pass Ashkettle in the final 50m on the last small hill to cross the line in 30:04, just 6 seconds behind Liam Adams... But still 4 seconds over. I soon forgot about the time though, finishing third in such a high quality race and in such tough conditions I was stoked!
I'd like to thank the major sponsor of the race B&E banking and the organizing team Events South for once again bringing such a quality race to Launceston, giving me the chance to go head to head with the nation’s best.