They say that the county champs are in decline. As true as that maybe, and as sad as it is for athletics, it doesn't bother me in the slightest as with decent competition I honestly wouldn't have been standing on the second tier of the rickety podium at the Warwickshire's yesterday, second only to the ever-reliable Ed Banks in the 5000m, who now holds a head-to-head record against me of about 200-0. Mo Farah in contrast has never beaten me, which puts into perspective how much better than Mo Ed 'The Beard' Banks is.
A pre-planned racing strategy with second-favourite training partner Dan Robinson was going to be the secret to us both breaking 16 minutes, although unfortunately the ultra-marathoner fell a little shy on the day.
As I stretched for the finish of the most painful race I'd ever done, the capacity crowd willed me forward. I flung myself at the line having given everything, and sunk to the ground gasping for air and willing the screaming in my legs to dissipate.
The pandemonium on the track silenced as the words came over the loudspeakers: 'The time is Fifteen minutes....' The rest of the announcement was drowned out by the joyous cries of several people who had just witnessed history in the making. At last the barrier was broken.*
Breaking 16 was everything I dreamed. 'Tell me about your race?' said an important looking gentleman to me as I collected my medal, who I incorrectly assumed was from world media. I quickly tailed off my overly detailed description as I realised he was merely the guy who had timetabled the events. All he actually wanted to know was if an 11:30 start suited and would be fine next year as well? 'Great!' I said, after quickly mulling over if in my brief moment of power there was a more preferable time of day for me to be comprehensively beaten in 365 days time. '11:30 is great.'
* 'The Perfect Mile' by Neal Bascomb is available from all good bookstores.