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Women's 5km record falls

Wonderful news just in about one of our longest standing female runners, Amanda Martin. Amanda is a relative running thoroughbred with a sub 3:15 marathon and sub 40 10km to her name. But Amanda has succumbed to a hellish number of lower limb injuries and niggles over the last 10 years, and this has severely limited her run training and racing in longer events. However, here is what happened recently...

Bristol Track Club Race Day 5K (Odd Down near Bath) by Amanada.

On Good Friday I drove down to Bath for the Odd Down 5k.

Having not raced since dropping out of Berkeley 10k with an achilles injury last May and only resuming serious training in January this was a test of my achilles and a test of where I was with my fitness. I wasn’t really sure what time to aim for (I was hoping for around 21:30 – 22:00 as this was where I was pre-injury) and as the race instructions stated “The course will come up longer than 5km on a GPS watch, but we can assure you that the course has been accurately measured (please no emails suggesting otherwise!)” I knew I couldn’t rely on the pace on my Garmin so although I wore my Garmin, I decided to run ‘old-school’ – by feel.

I was in the mass race (there were three races: Mass, Elite Women/Faster Men and Elite Men) so I lined up at the back of the pack at the start, reminding myself not to get carried away by the pace of the others.

The race went by in a bit of a blur. There were marshals calling splits at the km markers so I knew what pace I was running (faster than I’d expected but I felt ok, and I told myself “It’s only a 5k, even if I blow up after 4k... that’s not too far to hold on for!”).

They were right about the course coming up long on GPS – my watch pinged for 5k and I’d only just turned into the finishing straight... still nearly 200m go! I managed to pick up the pace from there and finished in 21:01 – much better than I was expecting but agonisingly close to sub-21.

It was great to be back racing again and once I’d cooled down, I hung around to watch the elite races; the highlight being Ciara Mageean running 15:24 in the elite ladies race. The poor guy pacing her was struggling to keep up with her. When he volunteered to pace the ladies race he probably didn’t expect the Brussels Diamond League winner to rock up. 😊

There’s a 3 race series on the same course during the summer. This was well organised and very spectator friendly as you can see the whole course and with there being so few 5k road races these days it is well worth considering.


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