Revealed: the story behind City of Norwich AC runner Logan Smith’s victory at Run Norwich 2019
City of Norwich AC runner Logan Smith reveals to Mark Armstrong the story behind his epic victory on the streets of our fine city at Run Norwich 2019
The best of friends and the best of rivals - that's the driving force behind the City of Norwich AC's latest crop of talent.
Logan Smith, Ben Spratling and Piers Arnold have all had their moments of glory in the past 12 months but Sunday was Logan's moment in the spotlight.
As part of James Senior's training group at CoNAC there are no secrets between any of the trio.
They know each other's strengths and weaknesses and it's up to each individual on the day to work with these to ensure they come out on top.
It was Logan's turn to take the glory on Sunday at Run Norwich 2019 after a fascinating battle with his club-mates as the three of them locked out the podium.
But how does it work between them when the people you want to do well are also the ones that you most want to beat?
"They are my best mates but they are always the people that I want to beat before anyone else," admitted Logan. "I think that's what makes the group so good - we see what each other are doing and it pushes us on.
"I managed to take the 'group record' for 10K on Sunday so I was able to give Ben a bit of stick for that!"
The three of them have proved to be the runners to beat, locally at least, and the 1, 2, 3 came as no surprise to anyone that follows the Norfolk running scene.
Felixstowe runner Danny Rock took the fight to them in the opening stages of Sunday's event but it wasn't long before the CoNAC runners dictated proceedings.
"When Danny went off we knew we would be able to reel him back in but personally I was happy to let someone else dictate the pace," said Logan.
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But it wasn't long before the chess match between the CoNAC runners started to unfold as Ben decided to make an early break.
"Ben made a move quite early on and managed to get a bit of a gap between himself and the rest of the pack," said Logan.
"I think we went through 3K in 9:08 and then Ben got a bit more of a gap. I was with Piers at this point and I thought we have either got to work together or I've got to make a move myself.
"I decided to leave Piers although I was wary that with his marathon training, and the endurance that gives you, that he could kill us both in the second half of the race!
"I caught up with Ben and we worked together for a while before I put a couple of seconds into him up Rose Lane although he got them back coming down Prince of Wales.
"Along Riverside Road he was well on my tail but I didn't want to look back as that sends a signal that you're struggling and little bit worried.
"The lead car was able to give me a bit of commentary so I listened to ensure I knew where he was.
"I think I managed to get away a little just after the second water station (through the cathedral).
"After that I was able to gauge how close he was to me by the cheers from the crowd as he came through after me.
"I backed myself going up the hill in the final mile - I felt my pace drop a little - but the crowds were incredible.
"As I came round the corner past Debenhams I knew he (Ben) wasn't near me and that was the first time I thought 'I've got this'."
Logan took victory in 31:41 ahead of Ben in 31:57 and Piers in 32:21.
MORE: A day to savour for CoNAC as Logan Smith and Iona Lake take victories
He admitted the victory had provided the ideal confidence boost after embarking on a steep learning curve on the track recently.
"Training was going well up until the end of June with the track season upon us," he said.
"I then started to struggle with not being able to do my long run on a Sunday as that's such a staple of any training programme.
"Competing at the weekend in track events broke my training weeks up more than I wanted.
"I like to do 70-80 miles a week but during the track season some weeks I was doing 50-55 and then another 40 and then it would go back up to 65 if I didn't have a race."
It culminated in a disappointing third place in race two of the Wroxham 5K Series with Piers taking the honours this time behind Ben.
"My mileage just hadn't been there before Wroxham and I paid the price for it.
"I decided then to get the last track meeting out the way and then focus on getting my mileage back up.
"I know now that if I put the miles in and do it sensibly then it's going to work out in the end.
"Next year I'm going to have to choose my track races more wisely and just have a couple that I really target.
"This year was about getting some race experience but you shouldn't have to do that every year. I know what to expect now."
Logan's plans are now likely to include the defence of his Run Norwich title and admits he would love to come up against three-time winner Nick Earl, who missed this year's race.
"We knew he wouldn't be able to make this year's race for a little while so that it might be up for grabs," he added. "I'd love to try and defend my title and to come up against Nick would be amazing.
"I'd like to think I'd give him a decent battle and at least go down fighting!"
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