Welcome to my last race report of the season, at this moment in time I have no plans to run any races before Alsager 5 next February so it looks like you will have to settle for second best with JK Rowling or Tolkien etc.
There was a slight change to my pre-race routine this weekend with Mick Downes kindly driving myself, Anne-Marie and the Chairman to Werrington so I wasn’t at the venue 8 hours in advance like I was (or so it felt) at Congleton, Mick picked us up about 9:15 and we set off following a car with New Balance kit in the back. After 5 minutes of conversation commenting on the fact we were following Sam Hodgkinson, Tim piped up ‘ Is that Sam in front’ !!.
Anyway it was a very wet journey over to Werrington and a miserable walk across the car park to collect numbers resulting in various comments as to why exactly we were doing this FOR FUN !
However, just before the 10:30 start the rain stopped and it was perfect weather for running and a good turnout of Bats gathered together for the off. Now the main reason for me doing this race was to improve on my NSRRA points for both the individual group and also the team prizes, I am pretty certain of a top two finish in my group but at Alsager back in February I only collected 45 points so any improvement on that would add to my tally and with the team being age group related I knew I could improve on that as well.
Off we went at 10:30 across about 100 metres of very wet grass which was quite entertaining before running out of the school and downhill to the lanes, a few of my group went out rather quick so I set about catching them up and also trying to keep Mick Downes and Tim Hulse in sight, this is my aim next year to be somewhere close to their pace. Once we got on the lanes I had caught all of my Group rivals up and after a quick chat I pushed on hoping to leave them behind with a quickish start of 6:45 m/m pace. At this point though Tim and Mick had shot off into the distance so I revised my plan and just set about keeping a good pace around 7 minute mile which I knew I was capable off on a flat course.
Werrington though is slightly more undulating than I remember and there were a few sneaky climbs in the first few miles (as well as descents) before the proper climb at 4 ish. With the marathon in Austria just over 4 weeks ago followed by my PB at Congleton 2 weeks ago I have been struggled with sore calves and a visit to Brian Coles on Tuesday and a week’s rest seemed to be doing the trick as once I had got over the first mile or two where you always question the wisdom of running a race I felt quite comfortable in the legs. So the first 4 miles I kept a steady controlled pace of 6:45 to 7:02 which kept me in front of any group D rivals before the long drag between mile 4 and 5. It is a long plod but not particularly difficult so I was a little disappointed at my time up the hill (7:42 ish) so something to work on over winter, before you have a nice flat and then steady decline before returning to the main road back up to the school.
When I got to mile 5 I chanced a glance back and saw Lee Jones from Trentham, who is Group D, not a million miles behind and I didn’t know how fit he was feeling so I couldn’t let up and kept pushing on. As we climbed back up to the school I saw Paul Swan and Ben Gamble both of which encouraged me to keep working hard, although at this point I knew I was not going to be caught by anyone so I pulled the grimace face just to appease them !
Round the school and back over the grass to the finish line in 43:28 which was bang on 7min/mile according to Strava which was my 3rd fastest 10k behind Stone and South Cheshire which are considerably flatter and not so soon after long distances, so I was happy with the time and it gives me something to work on in the coming weeks. Lee Jones was second in the group about 30 or so seconds behind and we were then entertained by Olly Clarke who decided to do graceful slide over the finish line – 10/10 for style….
Tim and Mick had finished around the 40 minute mark and looked like they had hardly broken sweat but they had gained some valuable points for the men’s team, Kevin Uzzell, after running a 50 miler on Saturday, also ran along with Paul Swan, Tim Clegg, Richard and Mac, so hopefully we have closed the gap on the NSRRA team to try and nick second.
Amy was first lady in with Sam Hodgkinson, Anne-Marie (beaten in sprint finish by a Stafford Harrier who almost did an ‘Olly’), Pam, Bonnie and Joyce also gaining good points for the ladies who are looking good for at least 2nd.
After cheering everyone in we went back to the hall where I collected my Trentham Triple Towel (for running the 3 events they had put on this year), had a hot chocolate to keep warm before we set off back.
Unfortunately, I am not about for the Flying Fox 10 so that is me done for the season with respect to NSRRA but if you are reading this and not marshaling get yourself entered it is a great race and it would be fantastic to have a colony of Red Bats flying round the lanes on the 6th November.
On a personal note, I have hopefully done enough to get promoted to Group C next season which was my goal, I have achieved PB’s in all distances (except the marathon) for the second year running and I can highly recommend joining the NSRRA because there are some great races around the region, distances to suit everyone and you make some great friends along the way. Thanks to everyone in Group D who has run with me this year, you know who you are and thanks to everyone who has read my reports, hopefully they are fun and I’ll be back soon.
Have a good one !!