Alsager 5 – 7th February 2016

Here we go again!

After a hugely successful Cross Country season and a highly entertaining Presentation Evening on Friday, Sunday morning arrived with the anticipation of the season opener – the Alsager 5. This is one of the fastest 5 mile races in the country and it attracts 1200 runners from far and wide so it was pleasing to hear quite a few Bats were entering for the first time.

Tim Hulse, Phil Cape, Jim Holland, Bernie Priekulis and Roger Taylor (wearing the wrong colour) decided they would leave the club at 7am to run the 20/21 miles before racing…..they say runners are mad well these 5 just proved it!
The rest of us slightly more sane runners decided just the 5 miles would do and set off to Alsager in the bright sunshine, (a slight change from the recent downpours). Myself and Mick Downes passed Bernie just before we parked up and to say he looked a bit peaky would be unfair (he looked knackered), but he managed to get a number which he is ever thankful to Amy for.
With it being such a busy race, trying to find everyone before the start for a mass photo proved to be impossible so we made our way to the start in dribs and drabs, catching up with mates from other clubs, getting our injury excuses in early and complaining that perhaps we should be in the NSRRA group below this year.

11am – the hooter went and we were met by a cacophony of beeps as we all went over the start mat with our ankle tags on – I am sure a ‘Colony of Bats’ responded in the distance. (no pun intended
Off we went caught up in the throng (I said throng !) setting off far too quickly to avoid the congestion on the first corner and after half a mile I was breathing through my…I was breathing hard, by the time the first mile had passed I had slowed and a few ‘D’ runners started passing me, then a few more – so much for 45+ points be lucky to get 30 !!

For the next 3 miles or so the sun shone down, there was a brisk breeze but not too bad and I pushed along trying to keep some of the ‘D’s in view as well as Kirsty…several other Bats had already flown away not to be seen till the finish line.

I don’t tend to fade too much in the last part of a race and keep a pretty constant pace so I did pull in quite a few ‘D’s , however Kirsty did brilliantly and there was no way I was going to close that gap. With about 400 yards to go I passed a couple more of my group competitors and had one more in my sights but one cheeky so and so decided to pass us both, so I tucked in behind him trying to keep out of his eye line whilst passing the other.
The last 100 metres is a sprint finish in the leisure centre and with about 50 metres to go I pulled out, pushed past him and used another runner to block the path…..I’m not competitive honest but those 2 ‘D’s in the last 100 metres might count… so get in!!

I must admit when I finished I felt a bit weak at the knees so although disappointed with my efforts I must have tried quite hard.
Mick 32:40, Pippa 32:59, Tim, Phil, Amy and Kirsty had already finished with blistering times, soon to be followed in by Angela, Runner of the Year – Richard beat Jim for the first time ever as he proudly pointed out (I am sure Jim will use the 21 mile warm up as an excuse). Then a whole host of Bats were crossing the finish line which was quite amusing as we were trying to get Roger to take photos and someone else kept turning up.
Sam, Pam, Anne-Marie, Emma and Mac crossed the line shortly before Captain Bernie who to be fair at 11:00 looked not overly enthusiastic about running so fair play. David G, Margaret, Beginner of the Year – Tim, Michelle, Anne, Marian and Jenny made up the rest of the ‘Fantastic 23’.

What can I say – first race of the year – 23 Bats – how proud we must feel as a club and to top it off most of us managed to squeeze in a pint at the George and Dragon with Angela bringing the catering….

Not sure how to finish off this article as most of it has already been said on facebook so perhaps all I can say is

GO BATS !!!!