Yes, I was seriously handicapped tonight. I wasn't last off but I was pretty near the back, possibly three started after me - which meant about thirty started in front! For those not in the know the race is a staggered start based on previous performance with the fastest starting last. If the handicapping is correct it's a blanket finish. Suffice to say, it's not often that happens but it's still a nice fun event - but that's not to say you don't try bloody hard.
I took it out steady and tried to maintain an even pace throughout. The course is testing and certainly not flat. There is a price to pay for going to hard - stop it - too early. Fortunately I avoided paying the price as I ran a controlled race throughout.
From the half way point to route climbs steadily until the final, fast descent to the finish. I was able to power - OK, that's probably the wrong word - plod my way to the top, overtaking a few before hitting the descent to the finish. I caught a few more on the run in but was just unable to catch Andy S who had the strength to pull out an awesome sprint in the last 100m to hold me well and truly at bay.
I finished 21st in a time of 32:13. I'm reasonably pleased with that on the 5 mile course with about 500 feet of ascent all told. My time was one minute and seventeen seconds better than my best of last year. That's a whole 3.83% improvement! No, seriously, that's a good improvement. It is. No, really it is. Spoil sport.
I've a rest day of sorts planned for tomorrow - if Martin and I don't get out for the lunch run, that is. Otherwise It'll be half an hour of something. Hopefully we will run but I'll be taking it easy ... ish. Got to save myself for the 15 mile hell run that is Llanbedr to Blaenavon on Saturday....
Tonight's handicap route:-