Sunday, September 09, 2012

Wonderful Woodchester

I definitely made the right call. My quads felt just a little stiff - matron - and I think I would have struggled - read suffered - badly come the end had I run the Skyline. As it was, the Woodchester Park race was about the perfect distance for me.

I set off towards the front, deciding to see what I had in the tank. I felt good in the first couple of climbs. None of which were long but some were quite steep. As the race progressed I picked up a few places on the ascent or rather running off strongly from the top after the ascent. I was taking things just easy enough on the climbs to get running quickly. I think steady would be the term to use.

Anyway by the halfway point (the loop section to the east being run in a clockwise direction) the placings were pretty much settled. I couldn't see the runners ahead but had a couple chasing from behind - ooh, chase me, chase me. I estimated I was somewhere around 15th - I was wrong...

I started to wilt a little in the strong sunshine and the pack, sensing blood, closed in for the kill. A runner from Westbury Harriers came past as the others down the distance between us. I had nothing left to give, hanging on as best I could. Then after a mile of flat running we hit the final section of climb and on the steepest part I could feel chasing pack literally breathing down my neck. I pushed as hard as I dared, knowing if I emptied the tank I wouldn't be able to get running on the flat sections to follow. I just held them off to the top of the climb and luckily for me they had given too much as I quickly pulled out an unassailable lead that was to remain through to the finish.

I finished in a time of 59 minutes and 28 seconds for the 12.2km course with 1,200 feet of ascent. I'm pretty pleased with that. Scratch that, I'm very pleased with my top ten finish, scraping home in ninth spot.

There were a few fellow Chepstow Harriers out there with me. Nikki M claimed 1st Woman, Neil G 1st older than senior man category but I'm not sure which - that is an official race category by the way - and Lou S 1st FV45. In fact the only Chepstow runner present not to win a prize was me - but just hang on a minute, with my 9th place and Nikki and Neil well inside the top twenty we only went and took team gold. Making it a 100% Chepstow runner to prize ratio. It's not often I get a mention in the results so I'm really pleased - and for once, I actually took the applause at the ceremony - although I was a little disappointed they didn't play the national anthem for us as we stood atop the podium...

Oh, and well done to Stroud Athletic club for hosting the race and thanks to all the marshals and helpers.

Today's 12.2km Woodchester Park Race with its 1,200 feet of ascent