Well, that was different! After 4 days of running through forests and being by myself most of the time, the 20km of Brussels was definitely ‘something else’. Thanks to the nice people of Delhaize, I was able to join the party and support the think pink foundation while doing so. Plenty of reasons to put in my best effort! I meet up with Greg and Steven and secretly sneak into the first start group with them.
That does some good, but no miracles. It still takes us about 5 minutes to pass the starting line. Every starting group consists of about 5000 people and my guess is we are a bit towards the end of the first group. Even though this has no effect on my time (chip timing), it does mean I’m slaloming for the better half of the race, wasting time & energy. But whatever! We say our goodbye’s and take off, each at his own pace, mine being somewhere around 3’40” for every kilometer. Too slow. With an unspoken goal of 1h10′, I need to get around 3’30”, which I do every now and then, but only every now and then. With all the slowing down & small detours I’m doing to prevent bumping into people, it’s obvious 1h10′ is out of the question today. But, again, whatever!
I keep overtaking people, never really finding a group that runs somewhere near my pace. Every now and then, fellow Delhaize / Think Pink runners who started more towards the front of the group, cheer me on as I pass them by. Big races might not really be my cup of tea, the atmosphere here is among the best you’ll get in Belgian races. I take it all in and enjoy it.
I reach the 10k point in 0:36:43. Not too bad! I have some more space to run now and deep inside I hope I’m hoping I can make up some more time. But I’ve wasted quite some energy already and the heavy part, the slow but steady climb of the endless Tervurenlaan, is still ahead. I keep pushing, keep overtaking people. Still, the climb slows me down and by the time I see the roundabout at the entrance of the park, my clock tells me 1h10′ has gone by. Knowing I have about 1k to go, I speed up some more and finish in 1h13’34”, 114th overall.
With that time in the pocket, I might try again next year. The time should definitely secure me a place in the first starting group and, why not, in the front 200 group. Who knows? And then, anything’s possible. But that’s for next year. For now, no more fast races until after UTMB!