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Kew The Run 10k – Dustin Daniel

Runners and accompanying spectators are given exclusive access to Kew Gardens for the race but we all need to be there well before 8am; they close the gates and lock us in at 8:20am sharp!


I ran Kew 10k last year, but it did not go to plan. I was just returning from injury and train delays made us late, forcing me to start from the back. At times I had to sit behind a group on narrow paths but this didn’t bother – the scenery is stunning; trees draw your eyes up and reward you with fresh air the entire route. Although the weather wasn’t great that day and I ran nowhere near race potential, I enjoyed it immensely and it re-ignited my passion for running after a long hiatus.


The draw to Kew is: I sell it as a family day out to my daughter and partner (my bib includes access for the day to the gardens for me, plus 2 adults and 2 kids) It's a great incentive to get them along to a race. I vowed as long as they agree to come, this race will get a spot in my calendar. So as soon as I knew it was viable I booked Kew 10k 2024 regardless of any race expectations.


Well this year did not disappoint! I’d been on tenterhooks leading up to race day as I knew rain meant I’d be making the trip solo. But we could not have wished for better conditions. A fresh early start gave way to late morning sun, absolutely anomalous considering the past few weeks.


All systems go! This was to be just ‘a family day out’ maybe even run it easy, but encouraged by fellow Hoopsters also attending I decided on some race goals. The course zig-zags through the gardens but is totally flat – so real potential. Nick C was aiming for a 10k PB (Spoiler Alert: he got that PB!) and Stefan A (training for Manchester Marathon) would run it at tempo pace. With my recent good form, great weather and everyone watching, I had to aim for the moon.


At the start I see Nick but no Stefan! I’d convinced Stefan to pace me, so got a little nervous. But after a warm up and strides I was prepared to stick to my guns. It was Stefan a couple weeks prior that reminded me “Do not skip strides before a race” as I’d done at Gladstone mob match – you will regret it!. With mere minutes to spare Stefan appeared; and with a nod and quick check on goal pace I knew we were on for a good run.


It was a glorious race, we started fast but quickly found our rhythm. Yes we worked hard throughout, mostly just the two of us running in tandem, but even focussed on the race in front of us I still managed to take in the periphery, and it distracted me enough to enjoy the experience. One minute you run down a boulevard of blossoms, then round a corner to peer over the Thames and even through a redwood grove.


I’d like to take some credit for the tactics cause they worked out brilliant, but Stefan is not only a faster but a more experienced runner. We were bang on pace. Except just after halfway, Stefan signalled me to NOT OVERTAKE; and against my instincts I yielded. We formed a pack with another runner and eased off for a couple minutes, before eventually pushing on, dare I say a wise move.


Dustin and Stefan running

In a 10k, after 6k I’m wishing it was over already, but I knew I could hold the pace Stefan was leading and we were soon passing the 8k marker. At 1k to go we were on the home stretch and with Sarah and Ava cheering me on I managed an extra push over the finish. Not only in record time but taking more than a minute off my previous PB.


I’ve said it before, racing with the team is one of my favourite aspects of running and Stefan, “You can be my wingman anytime.”


Results:

Dustin Daniel - 17th (3rd VM40-44) - 00:37:28 (Personal Best)

Stefan Anton - 18th (1st VM35-39) - 00:37:29




Nick, Stefan and Dustin with their race medals

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