Race Recap

Diacore 10k, Race Recap (#6/17)

On the 7th May, 2017 I ran the Diacore 10k Race – my Goal Race and the 6th Race in my “17 in 2017 Challenge”. It was the first race where I found myself looking around and really enjoying myself… it was the first race, I felt I wasn’t faking it… I felt like a runner… in a sea of strangers I felt like I belonged. But I am getting ahead of myself…let us take a few steps back…   

Eight weeks ago, I had just run my 3rd race of the year. That 10k race was the first I did without taking any walking breaks. That in itself was a victory and the new PB time I set of 1:15:11 was the added bonus. With my new found confidence, I started an 8 week training cycle to get me prepared for the Diacore which is Botswana’s biggest race and a qualifier for Two Oceans, Comrades, Commonwealth and the Olympic games. In those 8 weeks, I got a coach, Nicola from Running Happy, and I ran two races – the Lady K 10k trail run and the Palapye 10k which gave me a huge (self-timed) PB of 1:08:02. Going into Diacore I felt nervous but prepared.

I enjoyed a relaxing Saturday minus the kids who were at my parents’ place. In the evening we enjoyed a nice pasta meal before heading to bed. In the morning, I had my usual shower to warm up the muscles and my cereal before we headed out at 05:20. On the drive to the venue I made a mental note of the Route:

The Route: They call it the flattest and fastest race in the region and aside from a gentle incline at the start, it really is. Grand Palm – Right onto the A1 – Left at the Rainbow Circle – Left at the Nokia Lights – Left at the CBD Lights – Grand Palm.

The Race: We only found parking about a km away from the start of the race. We tried waiting for Tapiwa but with all the crowds we quickly realised it was a futile exercise. So I walked Ditiro over to the Half Marathon Start and then headed for the loos where I found a long queue of runners. Knowing that I had to warm up my knee to ensure a good start, I started vigourously stretching in the bathroom. I swear, the others must have thought I was one of the elite runners! LOL. With just a few minutes to spare, I took a slow jog to the Start and my knee felt okay. Unfortunately, the long wait at the bathroom meant that I started quite far back. At exactly 06:30 the gun sounded and it took me 3 minutes to get to the Start Line.  After that I had to wade through several walkers so my first 3 km were not the most enjoyable and I struggled to get into gear (Splits, min/km: 06:51/07:41/07:29). However, just after the 3 km mark I found my stride and really started to enjoy myself. I felt truly happy to be out here doing this. I looked up and saw a man holding a banner, “Run it like you Stole it” and I burst out laughing giving him a thumbs-up. I waved at the cheerleaders on the track with their pompoms and as I started having fun, I started feeling stronger and my Splits for 4 – 7 km reflect that: 07:04/ 06:50/ 07:05/ 06:49. As I headed into the last 3 km, I turned it up another gear and remembered my pilates breathing to get me through the final stretch:

As I saw the finish line, I still had enough energy for my final sprint and despite some pain in my left knee I just pushed it until the end. I was elated and on the longish walk down the “passage” to get my medal, I truly felt like a runner. It being such a big race I didn’t see anyone I knew at this stage, and Ditiro still hadn’t finished his Half Marathon so it gave me some time to reflect and enjoy my moment. As I got my medal, a guy tapped me on the shoulder from behind and said, “You ran such a good race. You had such a consistent pace and were my pace maker for most of the race”. And that my friends was the cherry on top!

My time: I ran the course in 1:10:24 (07:01 pace) according to my watch which I started at the Start Line, 5 minutes faster than my last officially timed race. Unfortunately, when the official race results came up, they had recorded our times from the gun start (and not from when we actually crossed the Start Line). So the 3 minutes it took me to get to the start are now included: 1:13:11. 

After the Race: I found a good place where I could watch the Half Marathon and Marathon finishers. Thankfully, my cousin Tapiwa soon found me and we chatted as we waited for Ditiro and our friend Elisa who were both doing the Half Marathon. At 1:42:12 Ditiro came through at a blistering pace and we started screaming, “D!! D!! D!!” and then we waited for Elisa who had such a strong finish and a 20-minute personal best! We were later also reunited with Polelo and were all so happy with our personal journeys. The Half Marathoners had some entertaining stories of Concert Goers who had decided to go straight from the Concert Venue, drunk as ever, to some parts of the course to cheer on racers with their camp chairs and cooler boxes!

Lest we forget – this was NUMBER 6

Lessons/ Discoveries

  1. Start closer to the front of the race: I must admit I was very disappointed that the 3 minutes it took to reach the Start Line are included in my official time but I have learned that in cases where there are no corrals I just have to hustle a little harder to get to the front of the line.
  2. A good warm up is essential: In Palapye and for this race, I really made sure I warmed up and in both races I felt stronger than I had in previous races. I am a little bit worried about my left knee at the moment but I will just make it a habit to warm up even before short training runs.

Pros of the Race

  • Extremely well organised (registration was easy, the race pack pick up was very efficient, website provided all the information including route maps, all races started exactly on time!)
  • Fantastic vibe and atmosphere – on the course there were cheerleaders with pompoms, there was a stage with people dancing and singing at one of the water stops, cheerful marshalls). As a Gaborone resident, this was a very proud moment as we hosted people from across the country and 38 different countries! I saw on Facebook that there was an American couple who are on a mission to run a marathon in every single continent and they were ecstatic for having chosen Botswana and this marathon to represent Africa.
  • Our race bibs had our names on them! I have seen this on other running blogs but this was a first for us! That really was something special 🙂

Cons of the Race:

  • You know what I am going to say right?! For the 10k race which had the highest number of participants, they didn’t record the time we actually started. So I took 3 minutes to get to the start of the line which was included in my final time. Not fair.
  • No corrals/ seeded groupings meant that walkers/ people with no timing chips were in front and once we were through the start it took so long to pass people.
  • Apparently there were several porta-loos but in the dark and with no clear signs I couldn’t find them so I used the hotel loos!

Would I do this race again?

Oh yes!!!  For any Gaborone Resident this race is so much more than just a race. I am so proud to have been a part of it this year and to have run such a strong race. I will definitely keep coming back!!

Once again I am linking up with the awesome bloggers HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap! I am also excited to be linking up with Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! Linking up is such a great way to get motivated and to get to know other bloggers! So please take some extra time to read some of their stories and link up if you can!

40 thoughts on “Diacore 10k, Race Recap (#6/17)

  1. Congratulations on your race! I LOVE reading your recaps. I’ve definitely had situations where I had to start further back because I had to go to the bathroom, and unfortunately it can really slow you down because you’re weaving through runners/walkers. Still, you rebounded and had a strong finish!

    I hope your knee feels better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For the Half and Full Marathons they used net time, but there were far fewer runners there! They should have rather used net times for us 10k people! I am just so glad I had my watch so I know exactly what time I actually did it in. Of course, it’s not official but at least I know how much improvement I have made! Thanks for stopping by Wendy!


  2. Congrats on a strong race! Your hard work is paying off and your’e getting better and better. I don’t understand why, if you had timing chips, they didn’t use that time as the official one. I made the mistake of getting caught way too far back in the corrals (due to extreme potty lines) in my marathon last fall and it took me soooo long to come up through the walkers and slower runners. I’ll not be making that mistake again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marcia! Not sure why as that’s how it was done for the Half and Full. They were given net times. I was so upset but just had to remind myself of the actual time I took and my pace. And how I felt! I felt so good especially in the second half.


  3. Great job! Looks like your hard work is paying off! Its always great to evaluate a race and consider the lessons learned. How frustrating about the extra 3 minutes though!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on a great 10k! I ran a 10k this weekend as well and felt really good …the weather was nice and cool, perfect for running. The best feeling in the world is hearing another runner tell you that you were pushing them in a race!! Yay!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This looks like a fun race! It’s too bad they used gun time instead of chip time. At least you know you ran 5 minutes faster and have the evidence on your watch. It feels great to get compliments! After a recent 10k, a lady messaged me on IG to thank me for pacing her to an age group win. I wish she would have come up to me at the race! I’m excited to watch your continued improvement! Thanks for linking, Shathiso!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats. You rocked it.
    I hate when there isn’t chip time. I do try to start near the start. Just cuz I am slower, why I should I have to run a longer distance? LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah yes, gun time versus chip time. That one always frustrates me. I know gun time is what is standard for most pro runners, but for us regular people, chip time is helpful. I think it keeps races safer because slower paced runners don’t feel the need to start right up at the front just so they get a better official time. I’ve seen that happen and it makes for a chaotic start to the race (if there are no corrals) with faster runners tripping over the slower ones. I also missed out once by placing in my age group because I intentionally started back farther because I was tired that day and ended up running a faster chip time than the person who actually won because they started farther up than me. But it happens. Still frustrating, though.

    Congrats on your faster 10K, though! Your hard work is paying off!

    Liked by 1 person

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