JP Morgan Corporate Challenge - 8th in 17:47 (PB)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

 HuRT Squad populates the top ranks at JPM CC like the Africans in international marathons. My main goal? Beat the 2014 PB (18:17) and watch some fiercely contested head-to-heads amongst my training partners. This is THE social event to do year in year out.

By virtue of my aversion to red-zone training, I still believe 5.6km is scarier than 42.2km!

Day-time lead-up is one of deflation the whole day. Finally, it's 5:30pm and a stop-start ride down to CP with Charlie and Matt (from work) tires my quads out needlessly.

Physically – I’m expecting a stand-still mid-race - a big last week and lingering niggles.

Mentally – seasonally low racing hunger.

A rushed warm-up involves 2km with Craig / MBA team then half-baked strides.

Upfront, this is how it should play out - Jeff Hunt, chased by the HuRTS elites (Quentin, Barts, Tom, CT), then a dribble of other HuRTS (Crossy, JFen, myself). Throw in the mix guys I know can race - Alex Rogers and Neil Pearson. For me, the hope is JFen or thereabouts.

This front line has some serious talent. Begs the question, what the hell am I doing there? The fear escalates and we are ready. CT nudges me out for a 30cm head start. Critical.

Surprisingly the first 150m sprint has few in front. I’m tucked behind JFen, just coming off the green section.

Up the hill, JFen slows and I climb onto the RH sidewalk. 1km pacing 'feels' like 3:15s. The gap to Andy Cross (Crossy) is a good 30m. All alone, what now?

At 1.5km, the downhill allows breathing to settle. A quick hi to the spectators (Conway, Renaud, Laura) before taking note of my competition. Rogers and Crossy are getting away! Even further up, Hunt has amassed a gap on a chasing pack.

Now comes a consolidation between 2-4km. Darren Moyle pops up at 2.5km and there's my chance. Onto his heels I go (literally) and the gap to Crossy (my main focus) closes slowly. The pace is quicker, sub-3:10s for kms 3 and 4. This feels not so bad!

It's at 4km where the fear picks up - you know the bend at Fox Studios gates means a steady climb. 800m in advance of this, I make my move. Crossy's usually perfect style looks a bit wayward. I push past my three companions. Racing 101 - don't show fatigue, don't look back.

Wow, it's none other than Chris Truscott ahead. Sadly, the gap is huge, maybe 35m! I do smell blood, helped by CT looking back every 100m.

A long long chase through the bend and down the back. Pace slows a little and the gap is closing too slowly. Unbeknownst to me, I'm stalked by Alex Rogers, who has clearly dropped Crossy.

The tank reads near-empty as I emerge onto the grass. CT is a seasoned racer and does well to keep a healthy 10-15m gap.

I cruise into the chute. Suffering is over. Did I really go sub-18?

Some of top 6 are scattered on the ground, semi-motionless as if a bomb went off. Clearly, no one held back and that is reflected in the ridiculous times posted by Quentin, Barts, Tom and Neil. I quickly turn around and see a JFen / Heyden epic sprint finish. Heyden is the victor.

17:47, ave pace is 3:11 min/km. Even better, 8th place!

10 places higher and 30s faster than 2014. Suffice to say, I'm stoked.

Course shows 5.5km, a touch short. Strava splits are slower than official, not sure what to believe:

- 3:18 (uphill)
- 3:14 (downhill)
- 3:09 (flats)
- 3:09 (flats)
- 3:22 (uphill)
- 3:16 (last 500m)

Right feels tight, really tight. I then enjoy a relaxed 3km cool-down with Renee, James and Elle. Back at the Allen's tent, the food, drinks and race run-downs are a highlight:

- A fantastic sub-17 from Quentin. Barts, Tom as reliable as pie.
- JFen happy despite being scalped by an ecstatic Heyden.
- Huge PBs to the MBA team. Charlie takes the cake with a sub-21. Wooey, Matt, A-MB sub-22.
- Sammy J is chicked by Renee on the line!

So clearly I had a great night. Running, eating then chatting. The bonus is another PB to add to the 2015 tally. Lesson for next time? Go out harder. That 2nd km split was too slow.

Here's a photo with Tom, Barts, JFen, Quentin and Neil. I'm in pretty esteemed company.

Another hour with the MBA team and sadly I can't stick around. After a tough race, I'm not the only one that needs a nappy change and a good night sleep...

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