Befitting of the morning after Halloween it was a foggy one with a nip in the air and it looked like a few of our members had not took off their masks from last nights Dusk to Dawn marathon (no names Chairman and Mr Cape..oops). I turned up ready to run but secretly hoping to marshal after feeling a bit sore still after last weekend’s XC.
As is the norm I turned up ridiculously early and with Anne-Marie marshalling I was the first runner at the car park so I made my way up to meet with the fellow Bats who were looking after us today.
The smell of bacon at the school was very enticing but my pre race ritual is porridge first thing and that is it till after the finish line (then chocolate and sweets where possible). Had a chat with Chris and Pam Eardley along with numerous other Bats, (Chris had something stuck on his face, hope you have managed to remove it ;-). ) but they were all busy getting sorted so I wandered around getting in the zone (yeah right) ready to smash it.
The Bat Girls looked to be out in force and Mick Downes turned up in his race gear so my first in for the club was definitely under threat after quite a few successes for me in this years NSRRA races.
After what seemed ages myself and Mick Downes jogged up to the start chatting with our fellow runners and Group competitors, I am sure group D has about 300 runners this year and got ready for the start.
We had a minutes silence for Dave Upton which was impeccably observed by each and every runner which shows what a great community spirit there is in running and even more so in the North Staffs – a credit to the area.
Then we were off……there is something about the Flying Fox 10 that the flat bits appear uphill, the uphill appears uphill and the downhills dont last long enough. We started the first 2 miles undulating through the country roads in the fog and Mick Downes soon disappeared off into the gloom. I caught up with Amy and a few group D runners and we eased into the race before we had the downhill past the school and our adoring public….thanks for the cheers team although I had to encourage you !
I had had my doubts about running as the Gluteus maximus was giving me some trouble and it felt like my hamstring was really tight but like the hero I am I struggled on along the flat couple of miles before the steep hill. It was about mile 5 that Pippa strolled past looking very relaxed with shouts from the marshals that she was 2nd lady at this point….go Pippa.
We got to the base of the hill and i stopped for a few seconds to stretch the legs which were not feeling too good but when Kirsty ran past checking I was okay I manned up and started off, couldn’t let the Bats down could I.
We plodded up the hill to be met at the water station with Emma Dutton, Anne Griffiths and girls screaming encouragement to us which is much appreciated – thanks ladies, but I don’t usually take on water in a shortish race as more goes over my clothes than in my mouth.
By about mile 6 or 7 I knew I would finish the race but the shouts of go on girls from behind me meant that Amy and Kirsty weren’t far behind and with a few Group D’s in front I found a few extra seconds per mile and pushed on for home.
Seeing Phil Cape meant the finish was only a mile and half away although again I can’t remember coming down a hill at the beginning so I am sure they put it there whilst we were out on the course.
With a bit more effort down the last hill and along to the school I pushed on, only to be passed by a couple of Group D runners who weren’t after points today…damn I fell for that one, but crossed the line in 73:17 a PB by just over 4 minutes.
I hobbled over to Pippa and Mick, 72:00 and 66:27 respectively, with Amy (73:47) and Kirsty (74:33) hot on my heels.
We then had 78:57 David-Paul Malaber (PB), 83:48 Richard Shaw, 89:26 Chris Ellerton, 95:30 Gail Evans, 98:21 David Griffiths, 99:40 Joyce Edwards (1st F65) also coming home for the Bats.
As it turned out Pippa, Amy and Kirsty were 2nd, 3rd and 4th lady home and with Gail they won the team prize for the ladies (Gents we need to up our game next season…who’s with me ?). Absolutely brilliant effort from the Bat Girls, and also from everyone one else some great times and effort (I think there were other prizes for the Bats but at time of writing I haven’t seen them…sorry)
As with every race a big thank you to the marshals but I must admit those today are second to none and it does make it much more enjoyable when your team mates are encouraging you when all you want to do is pack up and go home, I for one am especially proud to be a member of SMM.
One last request though, lets get more Bats running in the NSRRA next year, it is good fun but as the ladies showed today we have some great runners in the club and with the team spirit we can start pushing each other on getting the Bats back up and flying high.