Race 9 – Sri Chinmoy 5K challenge

Running! If there’s any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can’t think of what it might be. In running the mind flees with the body, the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and swinging of our arms (Joyce Carol Oates)

Pre run thoughts

I ran a 3:32 kilometre the other week. Impressed? I was. I had a little thought at the start of the year that I never worked on, to run a sub 20 minute 5k but I never got round to working on it. So I think it is about time I did.

I did only run 1k at that pace though, so I could still be a fair way off, my next 5k were run at 4.20 pace which would put me just under, but I had a rest in between. This suggests I’m pretty close to it and it is probably the time to work on it. I’m 90% sure I’m not going to run a marathon this year, so I maybe will spend the rest of the year trying to run this. Who knows I might be able to do it in 3 or 4 tries.

So I kick this off with the 5k Sri Chinmoy at Albert Park on Sunday. I’m just planning to use this race as a base, for where my 5k time is at the moment. That’s not to say I’m not going to push to get close. The Garmin will give me the 1k times so I can base it off that. I have thought of a sub 40 10k too, but let’s concentrate on one or the other.

The good thing is it should mean I can increase my running nights up to 3 or 4 if I don’t run a long run at the weekend.


Well as you can probably tell the above piece was written before the actual race, and now I’m writing post-race. The race itself went well, I realised I should at least try and get close to the 20 minutes and see how far I could push myself. I was wearing my Garmin so I had a pretty good idea, I ran the first kilometre in 3:47 so knew I was on track but thought I’d be unable to keep running at that pace, but knew I couldn’t afford to slow too much and logically its only 20 minutes of running.

I watched the 2nd and 3rd kilometre go by in 4.01 and 4.05 and was thinking I’m going to run this pretty close. The 4th and 5th kilometre I felt like I was running through treacle, but I’ve always found that on the back stretch of Albert Park between the Powerhouse and the playground. The problem is psychological in that there are no obvious markers there for me. I carried on though, but thought I was slowing considerably into the last half kilometre as a bunch of runners went past me.

I entered the finish chute and could see the clock in the distance was still on 19 minutes (I couldn’t see the seconds) so I decided to sprint the line, there is a great shot which shows you how much I was concentrating coming in. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise there were two timing mats about 10 metres a part. I sprinted past the first one and started to celebrate because I could see I’d hit it in under sub 20 minutes, but then realised it wasn’t the finishing line and had to speed back up. As I flew past the actual finishing line, I glanced at the clock showing 20:02. I was pretty heartbroken at the time, blaming my own stupidity on sprinting to the wrong line. I’ve way too much race experience to make these kinds of mistakes and I suppose it’s a very clear lesson learnt for the future.

So now I had to wait for the official results. The Sri Chinmoy ones are pretty slow and can take till the next day. So I waited and waited. I was checking every couple of hours to see if they had been released. Nothing through by the time I went to bed, and upon waking up, I checked them again, nothing there. On the tram to work, I did my regular email check and there was an email from Sri Chinmoy telling me the full results were available. I clicked the link, and saw my name was 2nd in the list. Scrolled across, and wow, 19:57 and I finished 2nd overall in the full race. Couldn’t stop smiling my whole way to work, the people on the tram must have thought I was barmy.


I’m not an arrogant man but I do love that 10 minute feeling of  “ I’m actually quite good, this was only my first run and I’ve broken it first time out”. It was quite a feeling and quite a buzz. My first thought was it was because there was a small field but in fact there was 98 runners so I’m pretty happy with that and to think I’ve got to this point within 18 months of commencing my running.

I need to keep setting little challenges like this if I can manage to knock them off so quickly and in such style.

For now, I’ll switch back to distance with Run Melbourne coming up in a month. The half marathon will be my next target. I dream of doing a sub hour and a half and Geelong told me I’m only 4 minutes off.


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