Following a mildly unspectacular display by his standards at the Poole 10k, although he did still finish 3rd, Rob McTaggart was looking for a strong performance in the Eastleigh 10k and he had earmarked it as a potential opportunity for a sub-32-minute attempt.
It’s an incredibly difficult feat to go sub-32 in a 10k though, even for a man of Tag’s supreme speed. You really need everything to go right on the day and to be in the zone and ready to just absolutely blitz it.
The Eastleigh 10k is billed as the biggest 10k in the south with runners flocking from far and wide to compete for the £3,500 worth of prizes that are up for grabs. It’s also renowned for being a fast and flat course and, on the right day, the potential for PB is definitely there.
It was quite a conservative start to the race by Tag’s usual standards. He has been known to get a little over enthusiastic at times in races, blasting out of the blocks and then subsequently paying for it later down the line. This time he was playing it safe though, giving himself the chance to possibly have something in the tank for later on in the race.
The conditions were okay but it was quite a blustery day so Tag was looking to find a pack to run with so he could tuck in behind to take shelter from the crosswinds. This was possible in the early stages of the race. However, as time went on he slowly became more isolated and by 6k he was all on his own.
It was an arduous trek to the line from that point on but Tag ploughed on and gave it his best shot. Crossing the line in a time of 32:57, he took 9th position overall, finishing just 3 seconds behind Richard Waldron of Southampton.
It didn’t really seem to be a day for fast times so Tag was reasonably content with his performance, although by his standards it was a fairly average time. The end result was still enough to earn him £20 in vouchers though so at least he got some reward for his troubles.
The race was won by John Beattie of Newham & Essex Beagles in a time of 30:29, with James Westlake of Crawly taking 2nd place in 30:33. They were the only two did manage a sub-32 finish, with Aiden Lennan of Southampton taking 3rd in a time of 32:04. A total of 2,114 participants took to the streets of Eastleigh and completed the 10k route.
Tag is now planning to switch his attentions back to the track, where he will continue to be a key player for Bournemouth AC in the British Athletics and Southern Athletics Leagues throughout the course of the season.