Thursday, 17 May 2018

Stride Through the Woods 5km trail race

I hadn't planned to run this. Then a week or so ago I pondered entering. Then I forgot. Then a club mate was forced to drop out so I thought 'Why not!' and grabbed the place. At 5km long and a counter in our Glossopdale Harriers club championships it would be silly not to run.

Jo drove over (thanks for the lift) with myself, Rachel and Charm to somewhere near Hyde where I filled in a form and got given a number. Race ready!  The 4 of us took ourselves out for a warm up around the first bit of the course - which is an odd shape of 2 out-loop and backs, before repeating the whole lap again. Only one bit of climb really, and about 80m ascent overall so shouldn't be a problem for us fell runners!
Jo, me, Charm and Rachel

The junior race was first and blimey did they shoot off from the starting line. I think their race was about a mile so it was a full on blast from the start. Great to see the young runners inspiring us adults.

7.30pm and we are on the starting line. Wishing each other a good race we are counted down and we're off! I was clearly way too far forward in the start crowd and quickly got passed by loads of runners. No problem on the wide track so I just stuck to my pace and ran.

on the start line
The route follows a lovely dirt tract (I imagine it would be a quagmire if wet), mostly under trees and for some part following a river. With the first loop done it was a downhill section and I'm pleased not to be right at the back. I was running on tired legs (20km yesterday and 7km at lunchtime) so really wasn't aiming to push the pace.

Then came the flat section in the middle before turning up a grassy section (mind the ditch and the brambles), a few steps up to a canal then sharp turn back down the grassy bit and over a stream, right turn and back along the flat to the start. All set for the second loop. The course gives you loads of chances to see fellow club mates so I was cheerily shouting support as we passed each other, and thanking the marshals (no small task standing amongst the midges for an hour or so).

The second lap felt a little easier, legs warmed up but lungs really struggling (more on this in a different blog). I manage to overtake a couple of guys on the grassy section just by stretching out my legs. Then, the final stretch and I have someone right on my way they were getting past me so with a little push I manage to eek out a few metres, then a few more. The heavy footfall and breathing behind me quietens and I'm turning up to the finish line. Wow that hurt!!!

But I did it, and surprised myself with finishing in around 28 minutes. Really pleased with the time given lungs, leg tiredness and not really wanting to 'race' the race. No official results out yet but the finish position doesn't matter. I got out and moved, had a great time with club mates and was treated to mini satsumas on the finish line and a superb sense of accomplishment.

Team Glossopdale Harriers (those we could gather!). Photo thanks to Nick Ham

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