Pirates 10km race review 

I love the Pirates 10km race in Jo’burg. To me it feels like all the Comrades runners come out of resting and the race is always well supported and organised. I’ve run the race twice before and in my mind, I recognized certain sections of the route but had no idea until Sunday morning, just how hilly those first few kilometers were.


Sharon and I started out, hoping to warm up as quickly as we could. Even with gloves, it was freezing, although not as cold as I remember in 2013. The first few km’s “appeared” deceptively flat but in reality, it was quite a gentle pull. By the time we reached 4kms, I was shattered. My race goal was to try maintain an average pace of 7:41 but I was running the first few kilometers in over 8 minutes per km. Eeeek!


I mentioned to Sharon that I really needed to speed up. I wanted to report back to my Coach better times but in those few moments, all energy was being sapped as I started to doubt myself and be really despondent. I started to plan the conversation I would have with him in my head. “Am I wasting my time? Why can I not pick up my pace? WTF Coach?”

Once we got over the 5km mark, things started to look better (aka downhills arrived). We started to pick up speed. I started to feel better. Stronger. And in that last km, I really pushed myself remembering the key words I’ve learnt at track training: slow poison. 6:41 min/km pace. Niiiice!

As I over-analyse review the race, I see that I’ve improved from previous years. 2011: 78 mins; 2013: 80 mins; 2015: 75 mins. I’m thrilled.

Lessons learned:

  • I know that I start slow. I need to be patient because I’m usually faster once I’ve warmed up near the end of the race.
  • Once I allow my thoughts to control me, my race is over. All strategy goes out the window and I use more energy pulling myself out of that negative dip than concentrating on tackling each kilometer as it comes.

There are some great races coming up and so far, my training though winter is going well! See you next year Pirates!