Last Sunday I ran the GS10 10 mile race in Somerset, NJ for the 2nd straight year on a chilly, windy day.   This was the 2nd annual race and last year I felt great running it so I decided to run again, using it as a Boston marathon training run.

Race breakdown…..

The first third of the race was generally flat to downhill.  The crowd quickly spread thin over the first mile.  These miles went by very quickly and I got between groups, eventually running basically by myself.  I started to focus on a runner with a pink shirt about 150-200 meters in front of me.  We made a right and then from mile 3 to mile 4 was basically the hardest part of the race.  We went gradually uphill and into the wind.  At the end of the hill we bore left, calming down the wind.  Those 1st 4 miles I was pretty consistent:  6:44, 6:33, 6:31 and 6:41 on the uphill.

The 2nd part of the race was just trying to stay at pace and thinking of how to plan my nutrition.   I had my double e+ / e shot with me and wanted to time it to use it at the best time.  So sip 1 was before the 5th mile.  Then sips 2 and 3 were before mile 6 and 7.   These miles again I was keeping that runner in my sights and also a female runner not too far in front of him.   These 3 miles were 6:34, 6:33 and 6:45.

Mile 7 was the key as far as the race was concerned.  It was the last significant uphill.  I also started closing in on that runner in front of me, catching him at the top of the hill.  He stayed next to me through the next right turn, even saying to me something like “less windy now”.  I gave him a thumbs up.   We stayed together side by side through the end of mile 7.   At this point I took my last big sip of my e+.

Once we passed that hill, the race was getting close to being over and I knew it was a downhill finish from last year.  With my caffeine kick, I began speeding up, clicking 6:29 and 6:26 in miles 8 and 9.  At this point I didn’t see the guy behind me, but I caught the lady with 1.1 miles to go.

PR Finish……

The last mile is basically 85% downhill and we sped up immediately.  The lady hung with me for a most of the mile and at one point we were averaging just under 6 min/mile.  With about 300m to go, I began to pull away, finishing the mile in 6:04 and the race in 1:05:32, my 10-mile PR by over a minute and a 6:32 avg pace for the race.   An added bonus was that I got 2nd in my age group and 2 cool ‘medals’, shaped like license plates.  I thanked the guy for pushing me the whole race and later found out who he was and thanked him on Strava as well.

I then waited until the time got exactly to 1:10 and started backwards towards one of my runners and I paced her exactly 1 mile to the finish where she, too also got her PR by over a minute!!


The course is manageable and the hills are not too bad – this is definitely a course to try to PR for the 10M distance.  The timing in March has meant that it has been chilly both years (37 degrees) so perfect conditions for me.   The roads are wide and I never felt too many people were clogging it up.   There is also a half marathon challenge, where you run a 5K race and then the 10-miler and you get a special finisher’s medal for running both.  One of the runners I run with got 4 medals – the 1 for completing the 13.1 challenge, the 10-mile finishing medal and 2 age group awards.

It was a fun day for all!

Coach Nick

Nickolas Joannidis
Nickolas Joannidis
I have been running for over 35 years, having done practically every possible racing event or distance from the 100 meters through the marathon. I competed in varsity high school cross country and track at Saddle Brook High School in the mid-1980's, varsity cross country and track at Division II Pace University and finished well over 200 road races since then, including 20 marathons with a lifetime best of 3:14:50. I was the president of the Hoffmann LaRoche corporate running team for 7 years, growing the team from 25 to over 90 during his tenure. I coached many of these runners to achieve their goals, whether they were beginners or advanced. In 2011 I was an assistant coach for the Fair Lawn Recreation track team, helping the 10 to 14 year old group. I am currently personally coaching dozens of runners, from beginner levels to advanced levels and getting them to be prepared to meet their goals.

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