Apologies for the delay in writing up this race report. I’ve spent most of last week in between running helping my father in law build a new roof on his garage. It’s been a job and half, especially in the recent hot weather. So Spencer’s Dash. It’s a tough local race series taking place on the first Wednesday of the month. I’ve only done this race once and that was way back in 2015. Time had dulled my memory of how tough this race is. With holidays and fact main road where I live is closed for 6 weeks, getting to track is impractical. So mid week racing has helped keep the speed work up. I also opted to do Spencer’s as I needed to pay my membership fee and pick up my club vest having made the decision to join Barnsley AC.
I arrived in plenty of time to pick up my new series number and sort out membership. I then hung around the start with my family. At 7pm Keith waited for a break in traffic called out the runners in the road and fired the starter gun. The start is crazy as its a very fast downhill and it’s a case of how fast can you run downhill. I was soon along side Gareth Cooke who has gone from strength to strength these past few years and feel he is only going to get better. I had the chance to have a quick chat as we followed the lead car. A quick glance at watch showed I was running sub 5 pace 🙂 The first KM is all downhill, the route flattens out at this point Gareth began to open up a gap. I knew it was only a matter of time (he is now a minute faster then me over 5k). The route then turned left and we began to climb.
Now me and hills don’t get on. I avoid them at all costs but as I continue to look at improvements, I need to do more hill work and improve my engine so to speak. As we headed up the first mile buzzed for 5:05. This is technically my 2nd fastest ever mile. With my track PB this year being the only time I’ve run a mile faster. The joy of running a fast mile was soon forgotten as by time we past over the M1 I was down to 3rd with Si Newton passing me on the climb. I kept the lead two in my sights all way up the hill, The climb is about a mile and as we hit the next left had turn for the second downhill I lost sight of them.
I picked up the pace but not as fast as I’d have liked as second mile buzzed for 6:07, a whole minute slower. I pushed as hard as I could going down the second hill but looking back it took me longer then I thought to recover from the first hill climb. I was comfortable in 3rd place until the route left the road and then the next climb was all off road. It was probably around a 1k climb but as it was rough under foot I really struggled plus halfway up I had to slow as wasn’t sure where to go, it meant I had been chased down by 4th and 5th place. The final left turn brought us back on the road and another downhill section.
Problem now was I was a spent force and took me longer to get going again. This meant I was caught by 4th place runner. I tried to respond and a couple of times I closed the gap only for him to pull away again. During this tussle the 3rd mile buzzed for 6:29, I still scrapped a sub 18 5k which was nice but the final hill was a battle and I lost another place on the hill as wasn’t sure how long it was. I managed to give it everything to the end to record a course PB by 34s. I finished 9s off 3rd place and 5s off 4th place. So shows how much I need to improve on the hills. I think having this in future years as a monthly hill session can only be of benefit. Was a tough race but I kinda enjoyed it. Plus was nice to get first outing at my new club and catch up with plenty of runners I knew. Plus knowing every runner in front of me has posted a faster 5k or 10k this year then means, shows I didn’t do too bad!