Race Report – Two Tunnels Half Marathon May 2016, Bath, England

Hey all – today’s race report looks at a set of 5 races ranging in distance from 5km up to half marathon which took place on May 8th, 2016 in Bath, England.

(TL:DR Overall score – 67 out of 100. I can’t decide if I will do this one again.  I think the main interest for me lay in the tunnels and the medal – both of which I have now experienced.  It’s not really local enough to just nip out and take part and I think I’m likely to use those longer trips for other races – or perhaps for variety I will do the 10km hilly route next time, despite not liking hills!).

Race Commentary

Bath is a spa city located in Somerset, England and is most famous for its Roman Baths and Georgian architecture.  In running terms it is best known for its well attended half marathon which takes places in March each year and attracts about 13,000 runners of all abilities.

Given the beauty of the city we naturally chose to take part in an event where the route spends a considerable proportion of its time underground, starts from a less than salubrious housing estate away from the city centre and in the case of my event, attracts fewer than 100 participants.

The event was the Relish Running Races Bath Two Tunnels set of 5 races which in ascending order of required effort were 5km flat, 10km flat, 10km hilly, half marathon flat and half marathon hilly.  Despite living in a relatively hilly part of England I don’t really like them but I thought I ought to enter the longer event so settled on the ‘half marathon flat’ option. My other half, Lisa is similarly not keen on hills and has been on a bit of a roll in terms of entering half marathons so fancied a bit of a change and selected the ’10km flat’ accordingly.

The event takes place in May which in UK terms means it is at the mercy of a very unpredictable month for weather.  It can still be chilly in May but also as warm as a summer’s day.  As it happened, May 8th 2016 was both – starting with cold, heavy rain before developing into a lovely day which peaked at 25C.  I’m not great at heat (see my Chicago post) so seeing the weather forecasts in the run up to the event taking a turn for the warmer didn’t really fill me with pre-race confidence.

Bath is about 90 minutes away from where I live in Wellington, Somerset and the race start time was 10:20 for me and 10:30 for Lisa.  That meant a relatively leisurely start at 7:00AM to be away by half past and at the park & ride a little before 9:00AM.  Having expected sunshine and a warm start to the day, the drive was wet throughout and I was feeling a little stupid in my newly purchased Running Forever Running Club super-lightweight vest top and the lightest shorts I own.  But they say to dress for 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer than it is when racing, so I wasn’t that far out – despite the shivering…

Following an uneventful car journey and a slightly hair-raising double-decker bus journey from the park & ride we were dropped off at a bus stop in a housing estate which I will sum up as looking ‘best avoided at night’ (worrying sign number 1), although knowing Bath house prices I suspect even the smaller houses were expensive.  After a short walk down a hill (worrying sign number 2) we arrived at a playing field and set about orienting ourselves, number pick up – check, toilets – check, bag drop – check, free ice-pop station – check…ooh free ice pops 🙂

The sun had by now come out and we were warming through.  We had about an hour to go until our start time and spent most of the time queueing for the aforementioned items, but sadly had to complete our races before we were allowed an ice pop.  We were both in wave 1 of our events (mine only had 1 wave in fairness) so happily queued up in the ‘Wave 1’ queue to receive our numbers.  The application of logic in this situation was a complete ‘fail’ for both of us – I should have been in the wave 3 queue and Lisa wave 4 apparently.  So we queued up again, thankful of the extra couple of minutes of wasted time, taking us closer to the start time.

The ‘real’ Wave 1 was the half marathon hilly group of about 70 runners – and occupying the moral high ground in this set of 5 runs it was only right they were first to set off, which after a high-energy warm-up routine, they did.  As I watched them disappear out of the top-left corner of the playing field I couldn’t help but reflect that it’s always a little surprising and disappointing how slowly even the quickest non-elite runners look when compared to what we are all used to seeing on the TV.  That is of course until you get passed by them and realise they are really motoring!

Wave 2 set off ten minutes later, about 4 minutes later than planned.  I was already thinking that the knock-on effect would mean I will be finishing four more minutes later than I would have if the start was on time and it will be 0.0001C warmer by then…!  I should try to relax more sometimes…

After another ten minutes it was Wave 3’s turn – about 100 of us.  I skipped the warm-up figuring I would need to preserve as much energy as I could for the race.  Skipping the warm-up meant I accidentally found myself on the front row of the line-up, which is something I try to avoid…still we were off to start the ‘flat’ course now, heading towards that top left corner of the park at what felt like a decent pace to me but no doubt looked very pedestrian for the onlookers.

I find that the term ‘flat’ is overused in race course descriptions – and it proved to be the case this time as well, the first 2.5kms were largely uphill and given it was a two lap course that makes 5kms of hilly terrain before even factoring in any other parts of the course.  Personally I would categorise this as ‘undulating’ but in running circles that is really an undercover word for ‘hilly’.  Everything seems to move over one notch and end up being a bit harder work than as described.  I think in reality what I want is ‘pancake flat’ – anything else will inevitably be at least a bit hilly.

I took the hill at a reasonable pace, with km 1 at 4:13 and km 2 slightly steadier at 4:32.  A group of about 5 runners had formed ahead of me and were pulling away but things were going ok, I was certainly within the top 10 by the end of the climb.

It’s at this point that the hills become worth it – the tunnels begin.  The first is about 400 metres long and the second 1700 metres.  The out and back nature of each lap meant that in total I went through each tunnel 4 times for an in-tunnel total of a little over 8kms.  All long distance running events should be in tunnels – they are mostly flat and blissfully, naturally air conditioned.  I loved them both – the hills in this ‘flat’ race were forgiven, even the shallow but lengthy incline through the longer tunnel (the incline had to be on the way back of course…) was pleasant.  The only downside I can think of is that it short-changed the distance shown on my Garmin

I spent most of the first lap on my own, a bit behind the quick guys but kept up a good tempo and at the turn for home at the midpoint of lap 1 I was feeling good.  Much better for the aircon section in the longer tunnel and looking forward to the downhill section at the end of the lap – but trying to ignore that I would be turning right around and going up it again!

The pack ahead had started to split a little and by the end of lap 1 I had picked off a couple of the ones who had gone out too fast, but lost sight of the other 3 and any runners ahead of them.  I’m paranoid about hydration during races so used some of the space I’d made for myself to walk 20 yards through the aid station at the end of lap one, taking on a decent sized cup of water and enjoying the breather before heading up the hill again.

There were plenty more people on the course by now with the much better attended 10km flat waves having been released.  The tunnels were quite narrow but everyone seemed to remember their left from right and there was always space to get around the slower runners.  I even managed to see Lisa twice in the tunnels – high five!

The temperature by now had climbed steadily to the low to mid-20s and I was feeling quite warm, but the tunnels cooled me down which enabled me to keep my position in the race to the lap 2 turn for home at about 15.5kms.  I was going a bit slower by now at about 4:45/km, and my thoughts were definitely more about clinging on than upping the pace for a finish. Thankfully it appeared that most people felt the same way but I was passed by one runner who had put his foot down at about 19kms.  I had a target of my own in my sights so thought I would make up the place again when I passed the obviously tired runner ahead of me.  I passed him with about 200 metres to go, restoring my position in theory, but in reality I had passed a runner from the half marathon hilly wave. So overall, once the race was properly underway I passed 2 and was passed by 1 – a net gain of 1 place.

My finishing time was 1:35:30 for 7th place – a good result for me and my fourth fastest half marathon, which given the hills and the warmth of the day was pretty good.

Lisa performed similarly, finishing her 10km in 52:30 which given the hills and conditions was a good time.

Event Ratings

Overall score – 67 out of 100. I can’t decide if I will do this one again.  I think the main interest for me lay in the tunnels and the medal – both of which I have now experienced.  It’s not really local enough to just nip out and take part and I think I’m likely to use those longer trips for other races – or perhaps for variety I will do the 10km hilly route next time, despite not liking hills!

Event Registration & Pre-Race updates – 7

Registration was good – the website has plenty of information and I found it easy to get signed up for the correct event, which when there are several to choose from on the same day is useful.  Not much email spam, if any – in fact I would say the event erred on the side of too little contact with the runners.  Rating: Above Average.

Logistics – 6

Running multiple events over different distances using predominantly the same course requires quite a bit of coordination.  I thought this was done pretty well although number pick-up could have been simpler – e.g. 1-300 here, 301 to 600 here etc.  instead of waves.  There were boards highlighting which wave runners were in on entry to the park but we decided to ignore them. Given the numbers of people switching queues this wasn’t unusual. I also saw a couple of people miss their race start but that may have been planned – at least one looked like an HM to 10k swap 😉 Rating: Average.

Course – 7

Hold the whole event in a 13.1 mile tunnel and it’s an easy 10 points from me…this was a good course, attractive in places and the tunnels were certainly a different experience.  It wasn’t flat though so I’m docking a point for that. Rating: Above Average.

Marshalling and feeding/watering – 8

Good marshalling – one in particular at the 10km turnaround point was brilliant.  She gave me a real lift on lap two just when I needed it.  I only had the water so can’t really comment on what else was available, there was a nice selection of goodies at the finish though – including those ice pops! Rating: Good.

Crowd Support – 6

There was decent support in the start/finish area but not much out on the course.  The out and back nature doesn’t really lend itself to people making their way along the course but there was random encouragement from people out for a nice Sunday walk/cycle ride. Rating: Average.

PB Potential – 7

A point lost here again for the hills – the tunnels are great for speed but there is a lot of up and down to get between them and the start/finish area.  I was about 2:20 off my PB, so it’s not a bad course but I have run several which are better suited for speed. Rating: Above Average.

Results Accuracy & Timeliness – 8

The event wasn’t chip-timed but finishing times were uploaded to the website really quickly.  This was all the more impressive given people from different waves and distances were finishing at the same time for most of the event.  Rating: Good.

VFM – 6

£27 for entry as a UK Athletics affiliated runner, £29 if not – plus a £2 booking fee.  Pretty standard charging I would say, but at that price there’s a chance of a t-shirt although one was not forthcoming at this event. Rating: Average.

Vibe – 6

I enjoyed the event, there was good camaraderie amongst the runners but the lack of crowd support away from the finish and sharing the paths with people out for their regular walks made it a little low key. I enjoyed it though 🙂  Rating: Average.

Goody Bag/Bling – 6

No t-shirt or goody bag, but a funky medal with a steam train on it which is one of a set of 4 that combine to make a pyramid shape.  Or at least they should.  I tried to combine Lisa’s and mine but managed to snap the top off hers! Thankfully the ribbons are detachable and the medals identical, so Lisa now has a perfect medal and I have a two-parter.  I’m sure some super glue will do the trick.  Rating: Average.

Race Report – Taunton Half Marathon 2016 #running

Welcome to my second race report. These reports will include commentary on how the race went for me and a more useful section which rates the event in more general terms, such as the quality of the course, the value for money of entrance, how quick the results get on-line (a personal bugbear but increasingly not an issue as chip timing becomes more prevalent), PB potential etc. etc.

(Overall for me this event rated as 68 out of 100 – I will do it again because it’s local and enjoyable but personally I wouldn’t travel more than 1h30 or so to do it).

Race Commentary

This blog post covers The Taunton Marathon/Half Marathon which took place on 3rd April 2016 in and around Taunton, Somerset – England.

This is one of my local races and with a 10:30 start time and only a ten minute journey to get there we (my wife Lisa and I) had an easy start to the day 🙂  Breakfast and a short dog walk to warm the legs up and we were away.

We arrived very early for us, with about 45 minutes to go – just in time for the group photo for the running club we belong to (Running Forever) . The club had put in a great turnout with about 60 runners across the half and full marathon distance – about 20% were crazy enough to do the full two laps.  I wasn’t one of them…it takes more than a run around our local country roads to motivate me for the pain of the full distance!

The start area was compact and busy and I’m reliably informed that there was only a 2 minute queue for the ‘proper’ loos – that’s pretty incredible compared to most races.  Perhaps everyone had sworn off the cider for the morning.

We then had two brief moments of (potential) fame – a recording of 5 running club members was made by a local radio station (Apple FM I think) and the local newspaper Wellington Weekly News wanted a photo of all Wellington-based runners, which included a celebrity…none other than Clinton Rogers from the BBC Points West team (he’s from Bradford on Tone though, so had muscled his way in…clearly this opportunity to further enhance his fame was not to be missed).

After just about managing to calm down following so much glamourous excitement we then headed off to the start line.  About 1100 runners do the half marathon with around 150 die-hards going the full distance.  I slotted in towards the middle of the 1:30 section, hoping I was going to be on reasonable form. My only previous go at this event was last year and it didn’t go to plan with my finishing time over 1:45.  I was planning to exorcise those demons and get under 1:40, preferably 1:38.

The first few miles are mainly flat or false-flat uphill and I ended up standing next to a runner I knew with a similar PB.  Unfortunately she likes to start quickly so zoomed ahead as we ran past shoppers making the best of the wonders Taunton has to offer on a Sunday morning in April.

To avoid getting carried away at the start I’ve come up with an opening race strategy which is to do the first mile or two at a pace which is not too fast nor too slow – Goldilocks pace I guess you could call it (how else do you think she escaped from those bears?!). Today that meant around 7:00/mile pace, with a couple of the first five miles dipping just under. The course gets harder during the second half, so contrary to all running opinion ever submitted to the internet I decided I would ‘get some quick miles in the bank’, certain that I would pay them back with interest later on.  Too late now though – it was mile 5 and my average was still more or less spot-on 7/mile pace, about two minutes ahead of PB pace.

For a half marathon I break the race mileage down into three phases, first 5 / next 5 / last 3 to help with the mental game – which I generally find harder than the physical side of running once I get beyond 10k distance. So the first phase went really well – now phase two and time to try to cling on after the too quick start.

Miles 6 to 10 went pretty quickly.  Just before 6.5 there’s the first ‘turn for home’ which also includes a nice long descent so I glugged down a gel (don’t usually bother with them but was determined to put last year’s performance to bed!) and pressed on into the noticeable headwind now we were tracking south.  The gel seemed to help me zoom (relatively speaking) up the short, sharp incline crossing the River Tone at the 9 mile mark where I started to suffer last year. The miles were a bit slower on this stretch averaging 7:10/miles, but that was still tantalisingly 1 second per mile inside my PB pace.  No meltdown yet – but the hills were coming up quickly.

Miles 10 to 11 include the second and final ‘turn for home’ but also two fairly nasty hills at a small hamlet called Rumwell (locally known for it’s pub, farm shop and wood-carving-lay-by-man) and these caught me out last year, including a short walk.  Still feeling pretty good on the approach though I managed to keep some rough semblance of running form up them both, recording my slowest mile at 7:40/mile but all was not lost – those banked fast early miles kept me well ahead of my PB time.

Taunton Half FinishSo to cut a longish blog short – I then ticked off the next 2.1 miles, which include some blessed downhills, at 7:08/mile pace and crossed the line with a massive grin in 1:33:01, a PB by 1m42s…(Strava activity).

The moral of this seems to be don’t believe everything (anything?) you read on the internet and that ‘interest free’ does not only apply to sofas 🙂

Event Ratings

Overall score – 68 out of 100.  Would do it again, especially given it’s so local.  Nightmare last year – enjoyable this year, if hard work.

Event Registration & Pre-Race updates – 5

The website isn’t really up to date, e.g. results seem to stop in about 2010, and sometimes the site seems to be hijacked off to different domains – but when working as intended it is straightforward to use so I don’t really have much to grumble about.  Rating: OK.

Logistics – 8

Logistics for me were really simple – drive 10 minutes and find a car space less than 400m from the start.  The line up for the start gets a bit congested and you can end up further back than planned but I just clambered over a fence and slotted in, so nothing insurmountable.  Loo queues as reported above were very short and the whole start area was nice and compact, without being too small.  The countdown to the start was low key but it went away on time.  The finish area was large enough to cater for everyone as well. Rating: Good.

Course – 7

Before today I hated the course and dreaded the late hills, but I think in reality I had built them up to be something bigger than they are.  It doesn’t take place in the most scenic of Somerset’s roads but they are fine and there’s plenty of space despite the roads being largely open to traffic. Just one lap (for the half), which I much prefer. Rating: Above Average.

Marshalling and feeding/watering – 8

Good signposting and very friendly hordes of enthusiastic but well controlled cub scouts handing out bottles of water and sponges at frequent intervals – no complaints at all.  Water bottles instead of cups also gets a big ‘yes!’ from me.  Rating: Good.

Crowd Support – 6

Not huge crowds except for the centre of villages we passed through but enough.  I’m told it gets very quiet for the marathon runners on lap two but never intend to find out for myself.  As a local runner from a well known club and wearing the appropriate t-shirt I got plenty of encouragement. Rating: Average.

PB Potential – 7

This section is going to be contradictory – I think it’s a poor choice of course to try for a PB in general but then again I beat my old PB by quite a margin today. The course feels like it has more uphill than downhill on balance, which is impossible for a circular course…so really I think it’s a 6 (Average) but I’m going to give it a 7 because it went so well for me today. Rating: Above Average.

Results Accuracy & Timeliness – 8

The results were up really quickly and are already integrated into the Run Britain Ranking website.  Very impressive.  Rating: Good.

VFM – 7

Entry is pretty reasonable for the length of the event – I believe it’s about £15.  This is reflected in the quality of the bling though – more later.  I’ll need to get better at noting down the cost of runs when I book them, usually week/months before the big day.  Above Average.

Vibe – 8

The whole event was really friendly, possibly due to the number of fellow club runners taking part, but then everyone seemed to be having a good time.  Rating: Good.

Goody Bag/Bling – 4

Probably the low point of the event (but it was quite cheap to enter) – the medal is unimaginative and the t-shirt best used for decorating rather than running (it’s not a wicking material).  Other than that there was a banana and a bottle of water.  I did also blag a nice cupcake but that wasn’t ‘official merchandise’.  There wasn’t a goody bag at all – items were just handed out loose.  Rating: Poor.

Taunton Bling

21 Tips for a Faster parkrun and 5k

Hey all – today’s blog is about running a faster parkrun, which is a fantastic and free weekly timed 5k event taking place in parks across the UK and elsewhere at around 9AM every Saturday.  If you don’t yet participate, you can find out more about parkrun here and you can find your nearest parkrun here.

Technically it’s not a race, which the organisers make very clear, but it’s a great benchmark to see what form you are in, so certainly it’s a race ‘against yourself’ for many.

A ‘faster’ parkrun is clearly a subjective term, 30 minutes is a goal for many and for others they are targeting sub-20, sometimes well below 20!

My parkrun journey (my parkrun profile) started when I could finish in a little over 25 minutes, so my initial goal was sub-25.  Once that goal was achieved I broke the sub-22 and sub-20 barriers.  I’m now sitting at 19:20 and am targeting sub-19, but that’s for the future as I’m focused on marathons and half marathons most of the time this year.

The main purpose of this blog is to share with fellow runners the tips which I feel helped me improve my time from about 25 minutes to just over 19 minutes over the course of a year.  Some tips are parkrun specific but others are equally applicable to any other race (not that parkrun is a race, oh no…).

So here goes:

Logistics & Tactics

Low PB potential
Low PB potential

1. Pick a fast course – if you’re after a PB don’t pick a hilly and muddy parkrun course.  Pick one with good, flat paths which are mud free all year round and don’t flood…


2. Pick a less crowded course – many parkruns are increasingly popular which can lead to pinch points costing you valuable seconds, or you may find yourself in a queue waiting to cross the start line.  The events don’t use chip timing so the start time is the same for everyone, regardless of when you cross the line.  Ten seconds waiting to cross the line is ten seconds on your finish time.

3. Start at the front of your predicted time group – for parkruns which have start positions based on expected finishing time put yourself towards the front of your grouping, but don’t pick the wrong one – nobody likes having to overtake slower runners who have obviously started much too far forward.  This is especially true where paths are narrow, as if often the case for parkrun courses.

4. Find a target runner – as you get familiar with your local event you’ll get to know some of the other runners including those who are achieving your target time or a bit better.  Pick one and then doggedly try to stick with them using them as your personal pace-maker or just your ‘must beat’ person.  Lisa, my wife, used this tactic successfully at our local parkrun but I won’t say who the target was!

5. Try to run even splits – the first half of your race should be a similar pace to the second half.  Don’t go crazy at the start and do a lightning quick first mile which you can’t then maintain.  The extra time you’ve ‘banked’ at the start will only need repaying through miles two and three, and usually with a lot of interest!  Try to achieve an even pace throughout, possibly going slightly faster in the second half if you can to achieve the fabled ‘negative split’.

6. Don’t go loopy – many people (myself included) don’t like courses which are more than one lap of the same course.  Some parkruns are three laps or more.  If that suits you then go for it.  Personally I find it mentally more challenging than a one-lapper or two laps at a push.

7. Know your splits – pick miles or kilometres but know what splits you need to hit to achieve your goal time.  Kms are particularly easy to track – just under 5:00/km for sub 25 mins, 4:00/km for sub 20 etc.  I like using miles though because there are only three of them 🙂  It makes the maths a bit tougher but you can find pace calculators on my Useful Running Links page.

8. Enjoy it – parkrun is a fantastic, social experience you share with lots of other like-minded runners.  The better you get the sooner the pain is over, so enjoy your new found speed rather than focusing on the few seconds you missed your target by etc.  Cheer on the others who are still to finish.


9. Target an approximate place and try to keep it – as your times get quicker the field will begin to thin out a bit and you’ll get a feeling for your rough position on the day.  Try to use this as motivation for hanging on over the tough final mile and a bit.

Tick Tock
Tick Tock

10. Rather obvious, but set yourself a goal time.  Make it achievable, maybe 30 seconds faster than your current PB.  You might smash it, but trying to shave off 5 minutes in one chunk could become demoralising.


11. Track your position on the parkrun ‘leaderboards’ for each event.  If you’re speedy you’ll find yourself on the ‘Fastest 500’ list and can target a higher position or possibly just plan to cling on to a position on the list if the competition is fierce.  Age-graded tables are also a really good benchmark of your progress and can help you compare your own results against the 20-year olds skipping around in 17 minutes or less.  Lists/tables exist for each parkrun event and are automatically updated on the website.

12. Set a goal in your running app – then you’ll know for sure that you’ve beaten it.  If you start your timer when you cross the start and finish lines it will be an accurate test of your 5k time, removing the randomness of any start line queue delay as per tip #2.

13. Go for the best finishing position on the day – when you finish a parkrun you’re handed a token which shows your finishing position on the day.  Use that as motivation to see if you can get higher up the rankings over time – clearly this depends on the size and quality of the field that turns out each week.

14. Get a running watch – it’s much easier to stop and start a watch than unlocking your phone and trying to click start/stop on the app.  You could rely on the auto-start/stop functionality of the app but that will also introduce some delay to your time.  You can get a perfectly serviceable running watch for considerably less than £100.

15. Track PBs for each parkrun course – parkrun tourism is a growing trend and if you don’t mind travelling there are many to choose from.  But not all are equal (as per tips #1 and #2) so a good time on one may only be so-so on an easier course.  Keeping track of your PBs on each course can help motivate you to a good performance even when you know you aren’t going to worry your ‘absolute’ PB.  The parkrun website does this tracking for you.


16. Join a running club – if you’re serious about improving your time then I would very much recommend joining a running club, they will generally have one or more weekly meet-ups.  Running with other people is much easier than heading out on your own.  If you live close to Taunton then please check out the running club I’m a member of – Running Forever.

Speed work is serious business!
Speed work is serious business!

17. Incorporate speed work into your training – the general idea is to make sure that some of your running (probably once a week) is run at a pace which is quicker than your 5k goal pace.  Over time your body adapts to this new higher speed running and it makes your current 5k pace seem a bit easier, at which point you don’t rest on your laurels and enjoy easier parkruns, no – your put in 100% as before and enjoy the pain which leads to your new improved PB.  If you join a running club they are likely to have ‘track’ sessions each week, specifically focused on building speed.

18. Build stamina by doing longer runs – mile three is usually the toughest mile in a 5k.  Getting your body used to running longer distances (10km+) can help it make physiological adaptations which improve stamina and efficiency, which in turn make mile three more bearable.  Once you’ve done some longer runs 5k can seem like quite a short distance so it can help with the mental aspect of completing the distance as well as the physical.


Easy warm up
Easy warm up

19. Do a warm up – some races it’s ok not to warm up for, the 5k isn’t one of them.  The first mile of a marathon or half marathon can be used as the warm up.  Take that approach during a 5k and the race is one third over before you’ve properly got going.  Do a 10-15 minute warm up before the race so your muscles are ready to go – you’ll be quicker off the mark and reduce your chance of injury.

20. Take some carbs – this one is really down to personal preference but if you get low on energy towards the end of the race you could take a gel or an energy drink 5-10 minutes before the race.  Don’t take it too early because your body will start storing the carbs as fat which will make you lethargic, and don’t take it too late because the race may be over before you gain any benefit.

21. Wear ‘fast’ shoes – get some shoes which are built for speed.  Not racing flats – the surface won’t be suited to that, but try to get some light and fast shoes.  High leg turnover is needed for a good 5k time and the more weight you have at the bottom of your leg the harder it is to move it through quickly and the faster your legs will get tired.