Neil Featherby: My message to anyone lucky enough to be running the Lord Mayor’s 5K race
This Saturday’s Lord Mayors City Centre 5K Road Race really has become a bit of a classic over the years.
Whilst Paul Evans is the stand out winner with his course record winning time of 14:11 (2000), there has still been so many other top class athletes whose names not only appear on a list of distinguished winners, but amongst the also rans too since that very first race back in 1996.
I always remember a top UK National coach turning up at Sportlink when we were based in Horsford with one of his protégés for the very first running of the race telling me that his lad who apart from being very shy and nervous was going to be a bit of a star.
He was right as this particular young athlete not only went on to be a winner of the race, but also grew into a superb senior athlete whereby amongst his many successes he represented GB in the IAAF World Championships at the marathon in 2005.
I have three athletes who I help coach and advise who are running in the race and it is quite clear that they view this one somewhat different to other races which they have taken part in.
It's going to be fast right from the start and every single runner (men and women) in the field is good to very good.
At the same time the race brings added pressure what with the cut off zone at 3K and of course knowing that it is going to mean racing eye balls out in front of thousands of spectators lining the route.
This is a real race that's for sure.
There will be those at the very front who will be there to win, those in the middle who will want to test themselves against the elite with hopefully a fast finishing time and last, but most definitely not least, those who perhaps for the want of a better word have only just scraped into the race with qualifying times of just under 20 mins for the men and 22 mins for the women who will be doing their very best to be seen to be worthy athletes in such a high class field.
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With race day now almost upon us, it really has been so very interesting this week to not only talk to my three athletes, but to other runners too who are entered.
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Their varied thoughts, concerns and of course excitement really does sum up serious sports people just prior to a big event.
What is so very noticeable though is how some athletes control their nerves and feelings better than others.
Training the body to be physically ready to meet the demands is one thing, but training the mind is something else and all so very important too.
Of course it is human nature to have thoughts and even fears going through your mind when you so want to do well particularly in such a prestigious event, but at the same time it is also so very important to control and channel your thoughts on to all the positives such as all the hard work and quality training which has gone into being good enough to be part of this super race.
If you weren't good enough then you wouldn't have been able to enter in the first place, simple as that!
The chance to mix it and rub shoulders with those who are bordering on international standard if not already one - how awesome is that?
Watch the very best athletes just prior to competition. They are so very much in control and most importantly confident that they are more than capable of the job in hand. This is all part and parcel of being the complete athlete/runner.
Whilst I have told my guys to just zone in on to all the positives for which there have been many during the last few weeks, I have also told them to stay relaxed and once the gun goes to run intelligently and just be the very best they can be on the night. If they do that then job done!
Most importantly though to enjoy every single moment, even when their legs and lungs may be burning. There will be a day when it is them standing on the side-lines either watching or like me with a stopwatch in their hands. I most certainly envy them!
Good luck to everyone taking part and of course to all at CONAC for all the hard work they put into organising this truly great race.
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