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Northern Masters Multi Terrain Champs

Hot conditions makes for a tough day

Sunday was the Northern Masters Multi Terrain Championships held in conjunction with the Radcliffe AC, Joan Rhodes and Fred Norris Memorial 5k. Now I broke a few of my golden rules much to my wife’s annoyance. Firstly back to back racing. This is usually a big no no but my argument was Saturday was for the time, Sunday was for the championship. The second rule I broke was racing off road. Those who’ve followed me over the years will know off road running and me do not get along but I still keep doing them and this time I did it breaking my 3rd rule. This rule is race for times first, placing and medals second. Last year I did the opposite but spent large chunks not enjoying running, as for me what gets me fired up and enjoying running is chasing fast times. I said previously this year it’s about chasing times, if I medal or win then it’s a bonus.

So going into Sunday I should’ve known better but do I listen? do I learn? NO! and I came away from the race pissed off. I felt like I had undone all the good work I had put in during June. Had I stuck to my golden rules I would not have raced and I would be going into Sunday’s Leeds 10k buzzing, instead I didn’t get the result I wanted and have spent the past few days with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. I just don’t listen! I’ve probably over analysed the results but looking at those who finished in front all were slower than they’ve done on the road this year. I like stats so here is an interesting one;

  • 1st  17:40 (SB 17:05) (+35s)
  • 2nd 18:02 (SB 16:36) (+86s)
  • 3rd 18:11 (SB 16:34) (+97s)
  • 4th  18:17 (SB 16:59) (+78s)
  • 5th 18:35 (SB 17:23) (+72s)

The above date shows the finishing times of top 5 and their season best on the road (not included track/parkrun), all of them have run faster then me on the road and besides the winner all had a bigger difference in their finishing time compared to their season best. So it does put in to context how the route and the conditions played a massive part on Sunday.

With all that being said I went into the race with the aim to retain the medal but mainly to run another sub 18. Now I knew the course from last year, or at least I thought I did. I had forgotten the middle hill and how hard the last climb was. Plus having raced the previous day, I felt it in my legs more then I expected. Probably walking for miles around Scarborough after parkrun didn’t help but I should’ve known better.

After picking my number up, we made our way down to the track and tried to stay away from the direct sunlight. I spoke to Jason about entrants. I suggested that all those running in our events wear either a NMAC vest or their age category on their back, as it was a race within a race. So you never know who you are racing. Plus much to my annoyance I didn’t realise on top of category champs there would be a massive trophy for the overall winner and the guy in 2nd pipped me to it.

Anyway I was in a good position on the start line but was slow to respond to the horn going and soon found myself about 20 positions down as we raced out the track and down the hill. It took me halfway down it to find some space to move up the field, then at the bridge it’s very rough under foot and very steep. I find it a bit too steep to let myself go but as we hit the bottom and the road, I was soon flying up the field and by the end of the road was up to 3rd place and felt good. A quick tight turn up the steps and over the bridge. I had to sit behind second as you had to either hurdle metal barriers or go through a tight barrier. The watch buzzed for a 5:28 mile. Not great by a long shot but was only a few seconds off what I had targeted.

The route was into woodland and all off road. Myself and second place was closing the gap on 3rd but I found it very hard to breath under the tree coverage due to the heat. I was battling with second place when just in front the leader took a wrong turn. I then moved up to second with the second becoming the new leader and would keep that till the end. I was keeping a sub 18 pace until we hit the first hill, I had nothing in the legs as I chased the leader. As we hit the top I dropped to 3rd and it was now downhill on the trail but it was also in the baking midday sun. I struggled to get a rhythm going down hill and twice went over on my right ankle, the second mile buzzed but I didn’t look asI did not want to face plant. I then had heavy breathing and 2nd place and the eventual Northern Masters overall winner passed me with ease and then made light work of 2nd place. I had dropped to 4th.

I still felt like I was putting in same effort I had done the previous day when running sub 5:30 pace yet because of the heat and terrain it was 6:00 pace. I hit the bridge which you had to stop to get through narrow gap at either end, then it was back on the road, by now I had dropped another place as legs had gone. However I had the hill to tackle and boy it hurt I seriously struggled up it, it seemed never ending but then I turned into the ground and gave it everything I could muster to the line.

Official time 18:35. Last year 18:32. I had finished 5th overall compared to 15th last year. But boy was I unhappy. I wanted the sub 18 time but it wasn’t my day. I perked up a bit thinking I had a chance of the trophy to ended up 2nd overall but retained my M35 title. You’d think I’d be happy but as i’ve said times matter medals are a bonus. I said to Sarah I need to stop breaking my golden rules and in future I won’t I didn’t in May/June and look at my recent results.

A big lesson learnt Sunday and hopefully one I won’t forget in a hurry.  Now next up is Leeds 10k. Last year I struggled in the heat with a slow 37:18, forecast for Sunday is looking at being red hot so be a case of getting round.

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