WRC Race Series, race 1
Sunday February 25th.
Radcliffe was the popular choice for this year’s competition opener. Democracy cannot always be relied upon to deliver a good result (Trump, Brexit) but I think those who voted got it right. The weather forecast was chilly, perhaps chilling was closer; it was not so much the temperature, just above freezing, but the prediction of a biting wind sweeping in from Russia. We were also rewarded, by going the populist route, with a good turn-out for the first race despite competition from the Wrexham Bakery.
The opinion was that the out and back section would probably be ok, the converted rail track is sheltered but up on the hills, with no protection, it could be testing. In fact, it felt that the biting wind did not materialise, although back at the football club, after the race, it did feel very cold, maybe we had just sufficiently warmed-up in those first 3 miles. Either way, a number of us were of the view that we had over-compensated and, with the sun shining out of a clear blue sky, too hot rather than too cold became the issue. A bit of ice on the ground, but it felt more like a run on a Spring morning.
The first part of the route is a gradual climb, but once you leave the track for the open countryside there are steeper climbs although none are long, it is not a challenging course. The return takes you across the wobbly bridge over the motorway and then the gradual decline back down the track, with a bit of a sting from the final hill.
In my role as the ‘new Trevor’, I find myself unable to give insight, once Simon had left me, even on League 4. Helpfully Cat has filled-in for League 3:-
League three was well represented with Nicky, Mark, Patrick, John, Carolyn, Colin and myself. We all finished in the order that we completed the summer series last year.
For me, it was a battle all the way….sometimes we just have days like that. You know from the warm up that the machine isn’t going to bounce effortlessly into action, with no apparent reason.
Mile 1 – Mark, Nicky and Patrick get off to a good start. I don’t try to follow them. Effort vs pace is too much. Damn! The brain chatter starts.
Mile 2 – Running steady . John and Colin just behind. Chatter “It shouldn’t be this hard this early. Bring heart rate down and hope it gets better”
Mile 3 – Rob and John pass, looking good. I know I won’t recover my position today. It soon feels as though the entire race is passing and I’m running on the spot. Chatter….”I’ve started, so I’ll finish, only seven miles to go….help!”
Mile 4 – A welcome downhill stretch and I reward myself an energy gel. ”Sugar is good, now find a pace that matches the joy”
Mile 5 – ONLY half way! “I need to hold my place in the group. No-one behind from group 4. If they catch up, do I have the fight?”
Mile 6 – On our way back. Chatter “A vegan runner has just overtaken me. Do I need to change my diet from Veggie to Vegan?”
Mile 7 – I’m overtaking on the uphills and downhills but losing ground on the flat. The chatter is now out loud to a fellow runner who I’ve been playing cat and mouse with. She eggs me on, which is welcome.
Mile 8 – Back in the park. I recognise three dogs who were supporting on the way out. Funny….they don’t recognise me!
Mile 9 – It’s all familiar and I know I’ll hold my place until the finish. I can see John ahead but there’s not enough fuel in the tank to close the gap. I see Mike and my dogs (who do recognise me) and he tells me I’m doing well. “I wonder what he’s really thinking!”
Mile 10 – Someone shouts a mile to go. “Great! I’m finally feeling good.” I cross the last bridge and am confused by the noise and enthusiasm of a couple of marshals. “Are we almost there?” False alarm. Over half a mile to go and a steep hill to the finish. I grind it out then sprint for the line. “Not my day but hopefully better at Trafford next week. Can I lose some weight by then?!”
Jim’s last race was Radcliffe two years ago, despite that he romped away to an impressive 13th. place. Matt was 29th. and Tim 39th.
Amanda, a brilliant run, was first League 2 runner, our first lady and 1st. F40.
Amanda was followed by Paul, Ian, Richard, Gareth and Mark. Janine was 2nd. F45, Paul 3rd. M55.
Nicky won League 3 from Patrick, Colin, John and Cat. Nicky was 2nd. F55., Patrick 2nd. M65, Cat 2nd. F50,
Catherine triumphed in League 4 from Carolyn, Simon and Ian.
Rewards for enthusiasm go to Paul Norris, Elspeth and Mike who braved the cold to support us.
Cakes were up to the normal high standard and Chris had sent us some of his special chocolate recovery bars for the journey home. (City won 3-0 but don’t mention Wigan)