Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m PB’s Race Report

I always like to arrive early for my events, to get my orientation, collect my number and find a quiet space to gather my thoughts. For a race of this magnitude I was quite nervous, more-so than in the London Marathon last month. In the days leading up to this event and not for the first time prior to a Night of 10k PB’s, I had been experiencing anxiety/excitement related palpitations. "Highgatearrhythmia" to coin a phrase. Nothing serious or concerning just an awareness of occasional thumps in my chest caused by extrasystoles - a heartbeat outside the normal rhythm, that often occurs in normal individuals). I’ve had them checked out previously so I recognise the symptoms. This is how my nerves manifest but only in very rare occasions and almost always before Highgate. Someone once told me if you’re nervous it’s because you care about the outcome. This was certainly the case. I always race well at Highgate and I was keen to produce another stellar performance and to maintain my status as the fastest if not 1 of the top UK V40 distance runners. This is being threatened by a current crop of athletes who have moved, and will be moving into this category in the near future. I have 18 months remaining in this age group before I cross the border into the V45 category, but I have no intention of being relegated off top spot without a good scrap.

  Wearing On Running Cloud flash racing shoe.        credit Andy Rayner

For 90 mins in the cooler quieter environment of the locker room away from the noise, excitement and warm weather, I relaxed on a bench eyes shut visualising. I may have nodded off for a bit too. Occasionally I acknowledged other athletes coming in after their races looking exhausted after a roasting in the heat. I also exchanged light banter with friends and rivals from past years. I spotted my main rival for V40 glory Alistair Watson as he arrived donning a cap to protect himself from the sun. We exchanged pleasantries and non-verbally acknowledged the fact that we were gunning for the same thing. We discussed target times and Alistair enquired about my state of fitness post marathon. I replied that I had recovered well and was confident of a good showing today.

Pre race visualisation getting into the Zone   - credit Dan Gaffney

Following a short warm-up predominantly in the shade, I made my way to the assembly area under a tent on the home straight. I stripped down to race gear and splashed copious amounts of water over my head, arms, back and running vest. Moments prior to the start was a flyby of two RAF Typhoon Jets and 1000ft. What an incredible sight. The whole arena was captivated by the elegance of these jets cruising above at 1000ft with a gentle rumble. I was hoping for a sonic boom, but I guess there are only certain circumstances that would be allowed.

We were called to the start line after spending sometime under the marque which straddled part of the home straight, which runners left momentarily to do some strides. The field was large with 40 competitors stretched along two curved starting lines. Once the gun went I intentionally held myself back to allow a safer run around the bend but was cautions of the runners in the outer lanes moving inwards once on the back straight. Coming into the home straight for the first time I found myself in lane 2 running wide to prevent getting boxed in. My opening lap was 75 secs and outside the 30 min pace I was aiming for but again this was intentional. I was towards the rear end of the pack and could see the majority field in front of me. I was patient and worked through the field passing 1k in 3:03, 2k in 6:00 back on 30 min pace, but still off the sharp end of the field which was being paced at 29:45. I could see Alistair towards the front of the pack running well. I wasn't worried at this point about catching him. I just had to run my own race and let things develop. I was relaxed as I progressed further through the field, surrounding me were some of my rivals of recent years, Martelletti, Kimpton, Bayton and Scott. 5k was passed in 15:02 still in touch with a 30 min clocking.

From 5k I continued to press forward making my way through the field, I recall several comments over the tannoy of encouragement and of my progress as I moved into 3rd and onto the shoulder of Nigel Martin in second place. Confusion had set in, second place was up for grabs although I didn’t appreciate at the time. I swear the lap counter had not moved for two laps. Mental arrhythmic is difficult at the best off times and judging by the time displayed on the clock I wasn’t able to do the mathletics required to figure out who was right. So I had to trust the officials were correct. I remained in 3rd position for much of next 5 or 6 laps with Alastair Watson having a great solo run at the head of the field.

Alistair Watson on his way to a sub 30 min 10k.

Chasing down Nigel Martin

Nigel and I were caught by Oliver Fox with 2 or 3 laps to go. I got clipped on my heel and lost a bit of ground on Nigel, but refocused and quickly made back the small deficit. I was feeling the effects of the heat and had to fight hard to focus as symptoms of light headiness and slightly blurred vision were coming into play. I guess this explains the loss of perception of where I was in the field. Going into the last lap I had slipped to 5th as Jonathon Poole came into the mix. Normally I would fancy my chances of beating most people on the final lap but I was suffering and I knew I had only one significant change of pace left with a short fuse to burn. I knew I would have to leave it as late a possible. With 300m to go, the guys in front of me started to wind the pace up. I also increased my pace without going into top gear, but I was losing ground. I decided to leave my final sprint until 200m to go but realised that was still too early, so I waited until 150m. By then it was too late. I had lost too much ground as the others had started their final kick 50m earlier. I managed to sprint as planned from 150m to go, it felt as if I was running in treacle. I checked my shoulder in the home straight for any danger and crossed the line utterly exhausted and pleased to finish. Unusually, I didn’t have my trademark sprint in the last lap. I had worked hard to maintain momentum during the tough part of the race, so I guess that took the sting out of my tail.

The casualty list was long with 12 DNF's. My finish time of 30:22:16 represents my 4th fastest ever, and 2nd fasted as a V40. This was particularly pleasing given the conditions. This was a similar result to last year's event when I finished 6th Place in 30:23.08, in better racing conditions.

To finish 5th amongst a field of talented athletes, some half my age was a great achievement. I was especially pleased to finish in front of several talented marathon athletes who have ran quality marathon times in the 2:17-2:19 range. Times I feel I am capable of but frustratingly have never achieved. Today's performance has left me questioning my Marathon journey. Am I better off focusing my energy at the 5k to Half Marathon range?

         It's all over!                                credit Andy Rayner

In preparation for Highgate I feel I benefited from the BMC Gold Standard 5000m race at Lee Valley 10 days earlier. It helped me get my track brain On. As a consequence of the quick turnaround following London I now need a few days off to freshen up. The Marathon followed by 2 races in close succession within 4 weeks has taken its toll mentally and physically. Before moving forward, sometimes it’s important to take a step back!


What an incredible afternoon and evening of 10k racing! The Night of 10k Pb's has come a long way from the humble beginnings in 2013. The highlight for me was of course Alex Yee's performance. Congratulations also to my fellow On Running compatriots, Andy Vernon and Chris Thompson. To see all 3 Brits dip under 28 mins on British soil was quite something. Not sure if this has ever happened before? There were a number of fantastic results by British athletes throughout the A and B Mens & Womens races demonstrating that the talent is out there. Ben Pochee's brainchild has demonstrated that if you create an environment for fast running and attract the best domestic runners magic will happen. Ben and his volunteers have put together a fixture in the calendar which athletes and spectators look forward to every year. Like myself, I'm sure many were already looking forward to next years event the moment they left the Parliament Hill arena.

A sprint finish concluded the British Championships.

Mens C Race results

Results + 200m split data:

This year 200m split data was recorded showing how effort was paced over 25 laps. Click the link below, find the race you wish to review and then click the ‘Re-Play’ button. See how the racing positions / and splits altered over each 200m segment. here

or you can see official Power of 10 results below: here

BBC / Vinco coverage:

Now is the time to relive the suffering from the comfort of your sofa.

BBC ‘A’ races here

Vinco all races here


Free download pics from us to you as a 25 lap gift: here

Stylish pics courtesy of our official photographer Steve O’Sullivan here(buy or email him to use)

More pics courtesy of Nigel Bramley (email him to use)here

see below an extract from the race day program.                        


The Last Month In Numbers

3 weeks a 6 days between London Marathon and Night of 10k Pb's.

62 average weekly mileage

14:46.18  time ran in 5k race 10 days prior to Highgate

Highgate in Numbers

6 “ever present years” since inaugural event in 2013

60 k - total distance I've ran at Night of 10,000m Pb's events

30:32.89 average 10,000 time @Night of 10,000m Pb's

Training Diary London Marathon > Highgate
22 April - 19th May 2018

Sunday 22nd April
London Marathon 2:29:28

23rd - 29th April
Monday 1 mile easy @8:16/mi on grass

Tuesday 2 miles easy @ 8:08/mi on grass

Wednesday 3 miles easy @7:08/mi on grass

Thursday 4.5 miles easy @6:56/mi on grass

Friday 6.2 miles easy @7:00/mi

Saturday 8.6 miles easy @6:40/mi

Sunday 10 miles easy @7:07/mi predominantly off road.

Total mileage 36

30th April - 6th May
Monday 12 miles steady

1.3 miles easy
2 miles tempo; 10:13
4x600m; 1:49, 1:48, 1:47, 1:46 
2x4x400m; 70, 69, 69, 69 -   68, 67, 67, 66
1min rec throughout /2mins between sets
1.2 miles cool down

Wednesday 10.9 miles easy

1 mile easy warm up /
4x5x300m/1min/3 mins
50 50 49 50 49  / 49 49 49 49 49   
49 49 49 49 49 / 48 49 49 48 48
1.2 miles cool down4.5 miles easy

a.m. 9.1 miles easy @6:59/mi
p.m. 5.2 miles easy @ 6:55/mi

Saturday  1 mile easy - 6 miles fartlek - 1 mile easy

Sunday  15 miles @ 6:59/mi

Total mileage 78

7th - 13th May
Monday 12.5 mile easy @7:04/mi Bank Holiday 8am Club Class of 10

a.m. 7.2 miles easy @ 7:15/mi
p.m. 5.0 miles @ 7:14/mi

a.m. 6.0 miles easy @ 7:40/mi

p.m  2 miles warm up       
BMC Gold Standard 5000m
7th Place 14:46.18
(74sec opening lap; 66sec last lap with 32 secs last 200m)
1.6 miles cool down

a.m. 7.9 miles easy @7:32/mi
p.m. 6.2 miles lunch run @7:41/mi

Friday 12.1 miles easy @7:12/mi

Saturday 18 miles easy @6:59/mi

Sunday Rest

Total mileage 82

14th - 20th May
Monday 10 miles easy @6:41

a.m 1.2 miles warm up
6x400, 6x200m, 1 min rec/2min between sets
68, 67, 66, 64, 65, 63
31, 30, 30, 29, 30, 29
1.2 miles cool down

p.m. 5.0 miles @7:42/mi

a.m. 6.1 miles easy @7:40/mi
p.m. 6.1 miles easy @7:02/mi

Thursday Rest

Friday 4.5 miles easy @6:45/mi incorporate 4x30 sec strides/30 sec jog

a.m. 1.1miles easy 9:29/mi with strides
p.m Night of 10,000m Pb's 5th Place Race C 30:22.16

Sunday 3.3miles easy @7:41/mi. Post Highgate shakeout

Total mileage 50

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  1. Great Blog Kojo, maybe you have a career as an athletics journalist in the making. I would love to run in that 10K meet, do they have a race for 36 mins guys? Well done again on your performance.


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