Summer Series, race 6
Staffordshire Moorlands Series, race 1
Thursday May 30th.
As at Dunham a week ago, running conditions, both weather and underfoot, were near perfect although I understand from those reckless enough to take-on a Half at Buxton, things were a little different there.
Our make-up was that of a historical Series race, with a dominance of League 3 and 4 runners and only a thin sprinkling of stars. We were observing in the bar on Tuesday that the centre of gravity of the club has shifted, for a variety of individual and personal reasons, Groups 3 and 4 are weaker, at least numerically, than in the past, whereas League 1 is significantly stronger.
In the second parallel with Dunham, we had a beautiful setting; the reservoir and the woods, as a backdrop for an evening out. While the day had been cool, it was close to 20ofor the start and, although the sky darkened, the rain never came.
This was a race I had run many times, but it would seem not recently, the course is now run in the opposite direction, apparently that has been the case for the last four or five years. My impression was that whilst it undulates mercilessly, the predominance in the first half is climbing and the second half is descent, my Garmin disagrees, not with the undulations, but that climbing and descending is balanced throughout the run.
It seems a long time since I reported a race win for Damian but you can’t keep a good man down. And then there was Malcolm, M55 now and a wobbly knee, but still 8th. Tim was 49th. and second M55 to Malcolm, a mere 5 second ahead of Richard.
Colin, who is top of League 2, was in League 4 two years, he is not claiming to be the best runner in such exalted company, but this was his fifth race and here was rewarded with the 60 points to cement his lead. It seems an age since Steve last completed the Series but here he was, two races in a week and 59 points in the bag.
Kate, like Malcolm, has comeback from what was deemed a terminal knee injury, both have to be judicious in the distance and frequency of their running. She not only won League 3 but was 1st. F55. Angela, out for nearly two years, has bounced back better than before, she took 3rd.F55. Craig, is another who has not raced a great deal recently, he took third place.
Nicky, almost weekly wins her age category prize but nevertheless is perhaps a little below her best she, like Nicola, has the mental and physical hangover of a recent marathon to overcome. Kathryn has made an enthusiastic entry into the club and took 2nd.F50. Next was ‘one lung’ Porteus, in fact both lungs are now functioning fully, it is the legs, after a long lay-off, that are the handicap. Catherine got injured at the wrong time and after a massive improvement last year has it all to do again.
I have missed running with Simon in recent months, frequently in a race one of us would overtake the another, only for the positions to be reversed a hundred metres later and then minutes later to change again. At Tittesworth for the first three miles, Sue played Simon’s role in this game. Last time I was here every time we went uphill, Angela overtook me and when we went downhill I got passed her – Sue and I did it the other way down, she was faster going down and I going up.
4.6 miles is a long way for ‘one hip’ Pownall, he needs it short and flat. Carolyn’s comeback has been confined to parkruns but here she dipped her toe in the water of a real race and was coaxed round by Julie, who is midst her ultra training.
When I saw Chris he was walking, in the wrong direction but when he reached the tail-runner he reversed direction a second time and jogged his calf strained through the rest of the race, not a PB but a counter for the Series.