A few people on holiday and a few injuries may have accounted for the rather low turnout of 14 for the latest in the Croft Handicap series.
With a distance of approximately 3.5 miles, juniors can take part in this race and it was good to give Scott and Alec a chance to compete over a longer distance – both having been quite competitive at their recent school sports day – Scott having won the 1500m and Alec the 800m. It was a relatively cool evening compared to the hot and humid summer series and running through the woods and down Bircher Common was very enjoyable.
Thanks to Mike for sorting out the start times, despite his computer being down. There was the usual staggered start times with all of us trying to catch up with Bryan who was first off. I set off at the same time as Guy. At the moment we do seem very matched for pace, with us finishing races recently very close together. The uphill start is quite tough as none of us are warmed up and I always feel that I should go quicker, the out of the wood and then the other back in do provide a welcome break. Across the fire track does quicken the pace again and I could see Tom up ahead and strived to catch him up. I did manage this at the gate out of the woods – a bit of an obstacle as it turns out very difficult to open and a climb over the larger gate proved the fastest way through. The stretch along Bircher Common is fast paced and sees positions fought for. I managed to pass Tom at the top of the common and then heard some very quick paces as Scott went flying past me. Tom then picked up the pace and I couldn’t stop him getting past me as well, Pat passed me on the common too and I thought I had been practising picking up the pace on the downhills!
Into Fishpool valley and the pace again picks up again as we are all aware heartbreak hill is coming up and we want to get into position. Both Guy and Gary passed me before the turn and I had to work hard to keep up.
Heartbreak Hill lived up to its name, a bit of a shock for debut runners Scott, Robyn and Kelly, who will be better prepared for it next time. The hill takes it toll, especially on those who had run races at the weekend – Gary had run fell races on Saturday and Sunday – and positions change again, it was good to see the Mike and Theresa at the finish line.
It was a sprint to the finish for everyone and those who weren’t being sick had obviously not put enough effort in!
Scott was first home in a time of 24.57 and deservedly picked up his chocolate bar. Pat was next home in 25.56, Guy in third in 29.21 with a new MV70 record and PB of 1 min 3 seconds.
Nigel ran the fastest of the evening, setting a MV50 record of 24.19. Debut times of 29.22 for Robyn and 29.50 for Kelly – running on tired legs after her Wyre Forrest half at the weekend.
Alec won the Chairman’s choice chocolate bar for his improvement in PB of 3 minutes 43 seconds. Full results on the results page.
Well done to all those who took part. The next one is on August 16th. Hope to see lots of you there – please let Mike know if you intend to run, it makes it easier for him to sort out the start times.
PS Thanks to Tom for going round beforehand to mark out the course.