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Essex AAA’s County Champs

Nick is Torq’s specialist duathlete. Being a strong cyclist and runner he decided to take on the ‘single sporters’ on their terms at the running track. This is what Nick has to say...

Nick Shasha – Report from the Essex AAA’s county champs and Battersea Park 3 x 1 mile relay race

‘Over the summer I usually keep up the running, with some shorter snappier races that come as a nice change to the 2 hour ordeal of Olympic distance duathlon.  I don’t often race on the track as I’ve never believed it to be the natural home of 5k and 10k running but after getting a recent track 5k PB in the county champs and finding it a relative doddle, I thought I would attempt the 3,000 metres and try my luck for a medal. 

Anyway, the race itself was held in Braintree and some of the best runners in the county turned up for the race including David Gibben (1.52 at 800 metres), Ryan Prout (sub 32 10k) and Crispian Bloomfield (15.01 at 5k).  The race was run in typical cagey county champ style.  The time is irrelevant in county races, only the podium counts so it becomes more like a game of chess as each lap passes and the pace goes up and down like a yo-yo as each competitor tries to wear down the other.

This makes it more a battle of attrition than a flat out race.  I was in and around 3rd and 4th for most of the race but felt strong enough to put in one surge at 800 metres to go and another as the bell went for the final lap, snatching 2nd by a reasonable margin.

I think that one thing that really helped in this race was mental alertness and an awareness of what was going on and exactly when to counter attack.  The 3,000 metres is a painful race.  It has the speed of a 1,500 metre race but with the endurance aspect of a 5k.  You can’t autopilot and I think taking on board a Torq Banoffee gel beforehand really paid dividends for me especially as it has a useful hit of caffeine.  The race itself lasted less than 9 minutes so a complex nutritional strategy was less important than being able to focus intently for the duration.  Hard when your heart rate jumps into the 170-180 range within 90 seconds but easier with a Torq gel consumed!

My next bit of speedwork almost felt like fun in comparison!  It was a 3 x 1 mile relay race at Battersea park organised by the ‘Run and Become’ chain of running shops.  They organise races every week throughout summer in the park and always attract a healthy crowd from across London.  For this race, I teamed up with two colleagues from my local running club, a couple of promising track stars called Ben Hall and Dan Penfold.

 Run relay team

I have had form in this race before and been in the winning teams in 2009 and 2008.  In 2010 we could only manage 2nd but I still ended up with a smile on my face since the team recorded a blistering time of 14.13 for the 3 mile course.  Both my individual and the team times were quicker than in either 2008 or 2009.  And the only team to beat us were pretty much the hardest-fastest-milers you could hope to put together in the land.  They included national 1,500 metre champ Andy Vernon (13.28 for 5k and the fastest 3k runner in the country in 2010) and Kevin Quinn (14.41 for 5K).  Their combined time was 13.21.  All together, some 34 teams raced’.

Nick

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