Tonky Talk

Here are few chances to race a mile in this met­ric age but for any fan of athletics the dis­tance re­tains an iconic ap­peal. So the Golden Stag Mile stood out in my postLon­don Marathon di­ary as an evening with po­ten­tial. In the month build­ing up to the race

Runner's World (UK) - - IN THIS ISSUE - BY PAUL TONKINSON Check out Paul and fel­low co­me­dian Rob Deer­ing’s run­ning pod­cast, Run­ning Com­men­tary – avail­able on itunes and Acast. @ Run­com­pod

Paul has his eye on a fast mile. The mile has some other ideas

adren­a­line I’d prob­a­bly open up with a 77- or 78-second lap and be pleas­antly sur­prised at how fast I was go­ing. No. The woman called out 80/81. A bit slow, but all was not lost. I was still in con­tact with the lead group and briefly fan­ta­sised that I was run­ning an evenly paced race and might win it. Then re­al­ity stepped in and the lead­ers be­gan to pull away. I tried to fix my gaze on the vest in front, but my eyes aren’t very good. Soon I was in no man’s land, be­tween the lead­ers and the chas­ing pack.

Second lap: 2:46. I bat­tled on into the third – the mini wall of any mile race. You’re knack­ered, you’re only half­way round. The third is where you win it. You won’t be sur­prised to know it’s a bat­tle I lost. 4:16 came the cry. Ninety bloody sec­onds…what’s go­ing on?

By this time the pack was right on my tail, headed by a girl called Emily, who had the sup­port of half the sta­dium. I braced my­self for the mo­ment of over­tak­ing. Emily, or maybe Olivia. Pos­si­bly Jen­nifer. This was one of the few times in my life I’ve been chased down by a pack of women. Now the plan within the plan for the last 400m was to kick at ev­ery 100m and then re­ally go off the last bend. Some­how I kept the chas­ing pack at bay. With 250m to go a Matthew over­took me but I dug deep, found some­thing and kicked past him in the straight. It felt great to sprint. I went through the line in 5:35.2, a mere 0.7 of a second ahead of Emily and, it seemed, half the women in North Lon­don athletics.

So, I had ral­lied for an 80-second last lap. That means I didn’t push the third lap hard enough. I’ve lost the abil­ity to re­ally hurt my­self over a short pe­riod of time. But I loved it and I’ll do more this sum­mer.

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