Monday, January 30, 2012

Hestercombe Humdinger

Richard’s report:

It seems a whole herd of Maiden Newton Runners were vying for the coveted “excuse of the year” award, although this attempt is not likely to be the winner, rather an early season warm up. Several runners committed to run the Hestercombe Humdinger pulling out of the Sunday club run. However showing supreme solidarity they all failed to actually apply for the race and as there were no entries on the day, this left Lesley as the sole club representative. (Dave C ran as Crewkerne and RW as SWRR).

It was perfect running conditions – no wind, a tad chilly but dry. The start is on the drive to the house, followed by a fast 3 mile loop back to the start (part of a figure of eight course). The second loop takes in two steep hills compensated by the fast descents. I love to go fast downhill and passed the first MV60 AVR runner a couple of times. He told me he used to run like that a few years ago, but he was still too strong for me going uphill. I find it inspirational to see guys like that still enjoying their running.

Those of you at Pete’s West Bay run last week might remember me charging backward and forward muttering to myself “got to beat Dave C at the Humdinger, got to beat Dave........” I caught him at 3.5 miles but only because had had a stitch all morning. Ran with him for a while and then he fell behind. I never look behind when running and with every approaching runner, every foot echo, every cough I imagined Dave closing the gap. I kept pushing on knowing Dave has a blistering finish and the last mile is mostly a fast downhill. However it was a hollow victory as Dave had a really bad stitch and did a fair bit of walking. The silver lining is that by keeping up a greater effort I stayed ahead of the next MV55 by about 30 seconds. As a bit of icing on the cake the Westgates scored their first double as 1st Vet55s.


Last year I ran this with Richard pacing me, and I also had the knowledge that I was doing a sponsored swim later at 4pm. This year I was on my own, and in spite of being slower than my PB in 2010, still managed to hang on to the “old crone” prize. I blame the cold weather. Even doing the first mile in 7 mins failed to warm me up. I started off in coat and gloves and although I had shed these by four miles, I was so cold by 8 miles I had to put the coat back on again. It was great seeing so many familiar faces. Even though we had arrived really early to get a parking place near the race HQ, by the time I had chatted to everyone it was almost start time.


It seems she still had lots of chat left after the finish. I was able to enjoy a peaceful 45 minutes in the heated car scoffing mars bars, while she socialised/gossiped.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Christmas Races

The Westgates were relieved that the 25th Wellington Monument Race actually went ahead, after being cancelled for the last two years due to atrocious weather. Many thanks to the race director for his many years of service as he takes a well earned rest in the wings. While my performance was very average, Lesley did a PB for the course scooping first FV55.

Boxing Day saw the Westgates at the Stoke Stampede along with the Lascelles. We were blessed with almost perfect running conditions, but I still managed a very average performance. Ben, my neighbour from Milverton was 5th in about 35 minutes, and Martin cruised home in under 40 minutes, with Lin trailing somewhat. Lesley was once again very happy with a course PB.

New Years Day saw the Westgates at the second Chard Flyer, along with Dave Carnell and the slightly knackered Lascelles after their busy DIY house move. Martin was so exhausted that he only dared attach his race number with two pins instead of the normal four! (Or was this part of his continuing drive to minimise weight?). A first time for all of us on this course which proved to be slightly testing, with a long slowish climb, followed by a steep downhill. We looped around part of the reservoir on decking, through woods, housing and industrial estates and on to the Cricket Club for the finish. I performed in an average fashion. Martin excelled being first MV55. Lin trumped him as first lady and first FV45. Lesley completed the Maiden Newton hat-trick with first FV55. She also beat me age-graded in all three races. Dave Carnell however brought the club into disrepute. In the words of Dave Mutter of AVR “In a bizarre quirk some Maiden Newton runners ran as Crewkerne,” thus handing the first team prize – wine and trophy – to AVR.