The Bramley 20 mile race was one that Graeme Miller and Sanjai Sharma had targeted as a key part of their London Marathon training. Running a 20 miler at this stage would give them a good indicator of where their fitness is at and how much work they have to do in the coming two months or so.
In fact, it was more like a training exercise than a race for Graeme and Sanjai and they had detailed plans to follow that would dictate what pace they run at different stages in the race.
The race plan for Graeme was a progressive run breaking it into three sections. The first 5 miles he would run at 6:45 m/m pace, the second 5 miles he would run at 6:30 pace and the last 10 miles he would go at 6:20 pace.
Sanjai was looking to employ a similar strategy, starting off at 6:55m/m pace and going progressively quicker every 5 miles to end up at around 6:30 pace.
These kinds of plans would be pretty tough for the average runner but for Graeme and Sanjai in the midst of their focused marathon training, they are very much achievable.
The first 5 miles were relatively flat so they found the pace pretty comfortable to begin with. At around 5 and a half miles they turned into a pretty strong headwind which would persist for the next 4 miles. On top of that, there a couple of hilly sections at mile 6 and mile 8.
In spite of that though, Graeme still managed to hit his splits. However, he’s been having some problems with his right leg recently and at around the 8 mile point, his glute and hamstring tightened up. That made the second lap of the two lap course a whole lot tougher.
As a result, he wasn’t able to hit his intended 6:20 slits for the last 10 miles. Despite the obvious impact of the injury, Graeme wasn’t too far off his target. He probably averaged around 6:25 for miles 10 to 15 and around 6:30 for miles 16 to 20.
That left him a couple of minutes off his pre-planned finishing time but he still crossed the line in a very impressive 2:10:57, placing him 33rd out of 684 finishers. Graeme knew he wouldn’t be getting a PB for the distance but it would be a good indicator of where he’s at right now.
On the contrary, Sanjai managed to execute his race plan perfectly and, aside from having a make a quick pit stop at one point, all went very smoothly. He successfully managed to up the tempo every 5 miles, ultimately finishing in 46th place with a highly commendable time of 2:12:45. Sanjai was 4th in the M50 category, with an average pace of 6:38m/m for the run.
The race was won by Alex Wall-Clarke of Southampton AC in a time of 1:54:23, with James O’Shea of Serpentine taking 2nd in 1:54:40 and Robert Mann of Exeter Harriers in 3rd with a time of 1:55:09.
The first lady over the line was Rosie Keane of Luton AC who came a very impressive 10th overall, completing the course in 2:01:59. Her Luton teammate Charlene Jacobs-Conradie was 2nd lady, coming in 20th overall in a time of 2:07:33.