4 Years on the bounce at Blackpool Illuminations 10k


So in line with ‘post Ironman tradition’ I returned to the excellent Blackpool illuminations 10k for the fourth year in succession last night.

This event is symbolic to me for many different reasons.

The main one being that it’s held pretty much one calendar month after Ironman UK.

You see unfortunately, once I finish IMUK, I tend to go ‘awol’.

Eat whatever I want, drink whatever (and whenever) I want, crack open the smokes…..

Say ‘yes’ to everything instead of ‘no’….

You get the idea…

Truth is, for the last 4 weeks, I have done absolutely no training whatsoever as I have been ‘on the piss’ pretty much the entire time.

By the way….

Don’t do it kids…

It’s not big and its not clever….

I’m just being honest and ‘setting the scene’ here you must understand….

So what happens when you rock up at a 10k 4 weeks after going awol post Ironman?

The Blackpool Illuminations 10k serves to answer that question and acts as my annual ‘barometer’ to discover what damage I have done both from a ‘performance’ and a ‘how it felt’ perspective…and to ask myself some searching questions going forward….

I have to say, I absolutely love this event.

It’s well organised, pan flat, traffic free, over 1,000 runners, a decent crowd, spectacular coastline views, its held at night, it’s in blackpool (who doesn’t love a trip to blackpool?) and best of all, they turn ALL the Illuminations on exclusively for the runners a good 4 weeks before ‘official launch’….

Good eh?

But the most beautiful thing about it is this….

Blackpool is well known as ‘party central’ especially at this time of a saturday night (the run started at 9pm)

In the past, the event took place down on the pedestrianised walkway, hidden from view.

But for the first time this year, they closed the main promenade and the race took place on the actual ‘golden mile’ right in front of all the clubs and bars….

Picture the scene, if you will….

To the left, you have got thousands of revellers getting pissed with the party going off big time….

Then in the middle of the road, you have got over a thousand ‘athletes’ getting stuck into a 10k run….

The contrast was wonderful….

I half expected them to chuck their beer bottles at us to be honest but they didn’t, they clapped and whooped as we ran by….

The thing is….

I am from those bars…..

But I have somehow now become ‘one of the athletes’…

It never leaves you though….

Who you really are at heart like….

As i’m running along, I kept looking into the pubs, music belting out full of people getting pissed whilst dancing the night away and on more than one occasion I thought to myself, ‘fuck this – i’m going in there’

Thankfully, I managed to resist and carried on running like a good little boy….

In terms of the run itself, this was basically 5k ‘out’ into a fairly gusty headwind then 5k back with the wind on your tail….

In terms of my ‘time’ this was bang on 1 hour which was pretty much where I was during Ironman training so to replicate this given prior debauchery is a result as far as I am concerned….

In terms of ‘how it felt’ – I was working far harder than the ‘time’ suggests as this ‘felt’ more like a low 50 min effort

As far as ‘how does this result rate relative to the field’ I ranked circa #500 out of 1100 starters.

Instead of focusing on the 499 runners that kicked my arse, we focus on the following…..

I started at the very back of the pack and overtook at least 600 other ‘athletes’ during the race and that is fukin excellent as far as I am concerned.

Looking back over the results, I noticed that no fewer than 9 people (yes 9) managed to get a DQ this year and that intrigues the hell out of me….

I would love to know what you have to do in order to get a DQ from a 10k run…

As I stand here sippin a post race Guinness, looking out to sea on the roof terrace of the excellent velvet coaster pub, I can’t help thinking to myself……

‘What now Rookie?’

One thing is for certain….

The biggest move I could make to improve my Ironman UK performance next year, is to lose about 3 stone of fat…….


Pour us another Guinness while I ponder that one would you please barman?

Next update…..Sept 1st

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