Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tiptoeing past the tulips at the 25th Teignbridge Ten

Sunday 29th March saw the Westgates running the 25th Teignbridge Ten. Sometimes it really hits home how lucky we are; a beautiful sunny spring morning managed to transform what some might regard as a boring looped road race past quarries and houses into a cheerful canter, passing trees laden with blossom and ringing with birdsong.

Having not trained for 8 days I decided to start off in last place and just run within myself enjoying the event. The first three miles I went past lots of runners before I saw John Perratt ahead. Caught him up by mile 4 and ran with him for a while, exchanging places over the next few miles. I think I averaged about 7.5 min/mile to mile 8 then feeling slightly guilty about not trying hard enough finished on two 7-minute miles.

So a wonderful day, friendly marshals, good organisation, facilities etc. as a bonus Lesley picked up a prize for 2nd FV50 and myself one as 6th member of the 2nd male team (SWRR). Lesley thinks she might put the winnings towards a pair of spikes for the track!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Club Champion graces the Arena

Wednesday 18th March saw the Westgates at the last race in the Exeter Winter 3K series. Excellent organisation by Pete Ferlie of Ironbridge Runner brings together a junior one-mile race followed by the 3K which is split into five separate races graded to your predicted finish time. The event takes place on the floodlit track at Exeter Arena, the spiritual home of the mighty SWRR. Turning up to register can be a bit confusing for the uninitiated because Wednesday night is also SWRR club night and with over 100 of the aforementioned runners milling around before dispersing for their evening road-running sessions it can be a bit noisy.

Talking of the uninitiated, Lesley bravely decided to make her 3K debut. Terrified at getting the pace wrong and finishing last, she opted for group E, the slowest group. She couldn’t have picked a more perfect spring evening, no breeze and clear cool air. This race was considerably shorter than anything she had done before and she was worried that it would be over before she had even warmed up!

During the junior mile race we did many warm up laps together and she insisted that she always raced carrying a drinks bottle. I think this was pushing eccentricity to an extreme with a real possibility of bringing Maiden Newton into disrepute so I confiscated her bottle. The call went out for the group to make their way over to the start. I went one way and Lesley the other. She insisted the start was where the lap counter and timekeepers were and dug her stubborn heels in. However the irrefutable logic that a 3K race over 7.5 laps couldn’t possibly start and finish on the same line eventually persuaded her to follow me to the far side of the track. It was getting a bit cooler now and I had to really insist she keep moving to keep warm; unfortunately she knew three of the runners in the group and wanted to stand chatting.

The runners lined up and on a signal were off. A sharp cry of “wait for me” broke the night air and the race was stopped. No, it wasn’t Lesley but another lady, a bit slow getting her jacket off. (Lucky for her the race was restarted and she won the series over-60 prize). I suppose technically it wasn’t a false start – a real rarity for a 3K – rather a restart. Lesley set off near the rear of the group of 14. There were seven youngsters under 15, two ladies over 60, two men over 50, 2 ladies over 50 and the winner – a lady over 45.

Lesley soon started moving through the field and was looking quite comfortable. She probably ran further than the rest, as for a couple of laps she seemed to be in lanes 2, 3 or even 4 as she went wide overtaking runners. With a lap to go she was still in second position but the lady ahead kept a clear lead. In fact Lesley needed some encouragement to push on, as a young Honiton lad wasn’t far behind. With some effort she held on to second place in 13:46.

I was seeded in race C – predicted time of 12.00. Things went to plan; I started at the back, nice and steady for a lap then moving up a bit. I finished in 11:58, ninth out of 22, very happy. Mike will be interested to note that John Perratt did 12:25 and won the first male over 70 for the series. Full results are on the Ironbridge Runner website. Lesley says never again but I bet she will.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Street Winter 5k Series

A short race so a correspondingly short race report. Martin and I drove to Street on Wednesday evening for the sixth and final race in the series.

The Street series is less well supported than the Summer series at Yeovilton but it’s great fun charging round the streets of Street – five times – and we have done them all this year. We approached the final one with some trepidation having survived 20 miles of bogs, beach and cliffs at the Grizzly just three days earlier.

The start of this race is terrifying – the road is quite narrow, it’s downhill, it has speed bumps and everyone is trying to get to the first corner as quickly as possible to avoid getting stuck as the path narrows. Consequently it’s a mad charge with no room to see where you are putting your feet and I’m always grateful to survive it unscathed.

We obviously didn’t try hard enough at the Grizzly because we both had a good race, Martin clocked an excellent 18.18 and I ran my best time for the Series – 20.47. Alternatively it could be that we are finally returning to some semblance of fitness.

The main reason for this race report is to advertise what a superstar Maiden Newton Running Club has in its midst – Martin came home as first Vet 50 in 5 out of 6 of the races, which obviously also meant that he won the vet 50 prize for the overall series. Not only that, he finished in a fantastic 7th place overall in this final race. I’m so proud of him!

The next challenge will be at Yeovilton and the first race of the summer series is at 7.15pm on Wednesday 8th April when hopefully some other Maiden Newton runners will take up the challenge.