John Porteous writes… I love the Cloud 9 race. Along with Knypepool it tends to signal that the winter is almost over and we can soon get back to training off road in the lighter evenings. It is also my type of race, a slow rumble around the hills with the occasional rest at stiles. I actually think that climbing the Cloud is not the toughest part of the race but for me it was running through the mud in the farmer’s field at a 45 degree angle. I started well but was soon passed by my Group 3 chums, and thought they would be difficult to catch. However, about two miles from the finish, I rounded a corner and about 100 yards ahead spotted the unmistakeable loping gait of the trained athlete, a.k.a. Chris Cannon. With a big push I managed to overtake Chris near the area where the race starts but then realised that we still had a good mile to go with the sharp hill at the end, but I managed to hang on.
I thought that the Poynton 10k was an interesting race and a good addition to the series. I chatted with Angie prior to the start who told me that she had been doing a lot of miles for marathon training and just wanted to get around the course, although she did manage a great race and 58 points. If she is selling a second hand car you have been warned! I started ok but soon felt Nicky’s heavy breathing in my ear, sorry I will rephrase that; after about 1km Nicky ran past me, as did most of my Group 3 chums. Not one of my better races but I enjoyed it all the same.
Although it is a bit of a trek, I enjoy the Chester Spring 5, even though I always get lulled into a false sense of security with the first half downhill. Between two and four miles both Cat and Sally G were running very close behind me. So close in fact that I felt a bit like Long John Silver with something attached to my shoulder, although hopefully I was doing a better pace than the celebrated pirate. After four miles they ran past me, although I did get in front of Cat at the end of the race with a “sprint finish”. As in the first two races, great running from Sally Price.
The Rainow 5 is one of my favourite races, although the main challenge this year seemed to be finding a car parking space. I was swopping places with Nicky most of the race where my kamikaze downhill approach was finally beaten by her relative speed on the flat. Sally took this one seriously to nab the 60 points.
I didn’t get involved in Bluebellgate as I was doing the Bollington 3 peaks the day before. The Bamford Sheepdog Trials coincided with my wife’s birthday and for some strange reason she wanted to go to a nice restaurant rather than stand in a field looking at sheep.
Race The Train was a really interesting race although longer than I thought. I had also forgotten that Rawtenstall was probably higher than Bury so it seemed generally uphill. Good runs by all, especially Nicky and Gail. I must admit that as I neared the finish I had sort of lost interest on whether I had beaten the train and just wanted to finish the race.
I went with Jan and Sue to the Bill Fox Round the Resers. In return for Jan driving my role was to find a cunning plan to limit the time spent at the major roundabout past Hyde and also supply the insect repellent. Hot night, pleasant race, I ran to par and would be happy to do this one again.
I was on car parking duty prior to the Alderley Edge Bypass race. Chris did his best to run me over, but I managed to avoid him. I know that Group 3 is competitive this year but this was getting ridiculous. Didn’t run that great and was slightly depressed by the proper runners racing down the return leg when I had only done 4k. However very impressive that the road was closed and that made it a good race.
The Bollington Nostalgia is also one of my favourite races with a really good mix of terrain. Great run from Mark to secure his first 60 points of the season. Nothing more to say but please include this in next year’s SS.
The One Peak of Chinley
I was in two minds whether to do this one as I had read the pre race blurb and knew it was a self- guided affair. However decided it would be interesting and set off with Gail and Mark. We were joined at the start by Paul Norris with a vague plan to stick together, and work out the best route as we went. Registration was quick which just gave us sufficient time to feel slightly superior to the people who were merely walking it and we were off.
I had a bit of a pain in my side which I thought was down to pulling something in the gym. However very soon I was really short of breath and waved the others on. (In fact I only just made it to the top of the first peak ahead of the guy walking his dog whom we had met at registration). I decided to follow a couple of Stockport runners which was my first mistake as they soon disappeared and I was left on an open road with no runners in sight. My second mistake was to ask a couple of locals who it transpired sent me in completely the wrong direction. Eventually I arrived at a town which I thought looked bigger than Chinley. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t see any tumbleweed but neither did I encounter any people at 9am on a Sunday morning. Eventually I happened upon a greasy spoon café and on entering it spotted one of the locals awaiting delivery of his cholesterol special breakfast.
‘Have you run all the way from Wilmslow’? He said
‘Bloody feels like it said I, where am I’?
‘You’re in Chapel en le Frith’.
That didn’t sound good as Chapel wasn’t even on the map I had
‘Ok can you tell me how to get to Chinley please’?
Armed with good directions I decide to cut my losses and jog back to Chinley where I encountered Tony who had ran a great race. I owned up to a DNF with the organisers and waited for Gail, Mark and Paul. Gail and Mark arrived first having done a great run with Paul coming in a few minutes later. It later transpired that Paul’s competitive instincts had got the better of him, but in doing so had taken a longer route and ran about 1.5 miles more than Gail and Mark.
By now we were all desperate for a coffee but no one had any money. Chairman Chris came to the rescue by managing to unearth a £20 note from the nether regions of his running shorts. (Yes I know – too much detail). After a debate with the pub manager regarding the said note’s status as legal tender, the coffees were served.
Going back to the car Gail and Mark were rightly buzzing after such an excellent run, whereas Paul was consoling himself with the words Pie and Peas, mass start, well marshalled. To cut a long story short I was subsequently diagnosed with a spontaneous pneumothorax, or translating doctor speak into English what most people would know as a collapsed lung. All seems to be on the mend now and I look forward to chasing Group 8 around hopefully before the dark nights draw in.