Another week, another championship race, another age category win. Sounds awesome when you write it like that doesn’t it? This past Sunday was the Northern Masters 5k multi terrain championship, this was held at the Joan Rhodes and Fred Norris Memorial 5k. This was also part of their local Grand Prix series so had a quality field. Now those who know me will know I avoid running off road let alone race off road but after my success at the Yorkshire Vets, I fancied my chances as I knew it wasn’t about times but position.
It cost me only a few pounds to enter, not bad for a chipped timed event, you didn’t get any goodies for finishing but I’d rather have a cheap race then paying another £10 for either a medal or t-shirt. I contacted Ian Warrington in days leading up to it as I knew he had done it the previous year. I soon learnt it was his club who organised the actual race and he was helping this year. This meant he told me about the course and night before warned me a section was muddy but road shoes should still be ok.
The race wasn’t till 11am which meant a lazy Sunday start. We arrived just before 10 and made our way down to the track and registration. I soon bumped into Ian who got one of his lads to take me on a warm up to show me the course. Firstly I picked up my number and chip, the person on the registration table asked if I was 6′ 4″ and I said no why? To which she replied “oh I’ve been told there is a 6′ 4″ runner with a mohawk competing today”. My tongue in cheek reply was, wicked I will look out for him as im 6′ and got a mohican. This meant I then had to explain difference between a mohican and a mohawk (for the uneducated a mohawk is shaved, think Mr.T) Anyway I cracked on with the reccy, this really helped as knew what to expect. Again massive thanks to Ian and sorry his name I’ve forgotten for helping me do reccy.
I wasn’t feeling it before start, I was nervous as last time I raced off road I broke my ribs. The race started on the track, which had been reclaimed by mother nature, a massive shame to see a track lost like this. Anyway it was a quick 1-2-3 go and off we went. up out of the ground then a 400m dash down an old road, littered with pot holes. It was a fast start to the bridge, then it was through the kissing gates and then a sharp rough decent to the road. Here we turned left and this was the best section and I was flying at sub 5:30/mi pace and felt strong (looking back if it had been all road I was on for a quick time). At the end of the road it was a sharp right turn then up 200m to the first bridge, you had option of steps or longer way up ramp. I opted for ramp as watch buzzed for 5:26. Would have been quicker without the turn at the end and the kissing gate.
However I knew I needed a good mile as things soon slowed down, you had to hurdle a barrier either side of bridge to stop locals going in with their motorbikes. Then we hit the trail first bit was ok and dry but soon as we hit the tree line it was very muddy and we tried to say right but I dropped from 5:38 pace to near 8:00 due to it being muddy, I dropped two places to runners who had opted for trail shoes, soon as I could I ramped up the pace but that section had cost me a minute. The route continued on and then a short sharp up on a narrow trail path then was a tight switchback over tree routes. We hit a bit of road, round more barriers and back into the woods. Now we start the descent back towards the second bridge. This was single file narrow track. I attacked as much as I could but in back of my mind I lack confidence to really let go for fear of another fall. The second mile was clocked in 6:28, you only have to look at my data to see the minute I lost in the mud.
Back to the race I had 3 on my back as we hit the bridge, again you had to navigate 3 concrete posts either end again costing time, we hit the road and I put on the afterburners, then it was a left turn and back up where we came, so was a sharp rough climb up to the kissing gates, then 400m or so back to the ground. I took two runners on this section and had someone on me as I re-entered the ground but I kicked and put daylight between me and the guy behind me.
I crossed the line in 15th place in 18:32. Not a great time but then I knew it wasn’t about times but I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me as now a fast 5k is eating away at me. Anyway I spoke to Sarah afterwards and I was happy with how I performed and was just a waiting game now, she was just happy I was back in one piece. We had to wait till everyone finished but Ian once again took a sneak peak at results and told me I had not only placed on the podium but I was first.
It was a massive relief to know I had bagged a medal and a massive sense of satisfaction to know it was gold. This now makes me the Yorkshire Vets V35 5k Champion and Northern Masters V35 5k MT champion. Now I could have done the Yorkshire Vets 10k Champs tonight in Halifax but everything I’ve done is pointing to a potentially a good 5k and 10k time so I’ve opted to go for times over medals for the time being. A massive thanks goes to Radcliffe who put on a cracking little race.
- 1st V35 in 18:32
Kit used in race
- Zeon Lightweight Race Vest
- Zeon 6 inch Racing Shorts
- Adidas Adios 3 racing flats
- Sockmine Griplock running socks
- Garmin 220