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University of Manchester Relays

Before I get to my blog post about this past weekends awesome results at Leeds, I have the relays to ramble about. Took a while as results took an ages to be published on Power of 10. In the past, I’ve only ever done three relay races and never really been good at them. I’ve always struggled to get into a natural race pace when I’m on later legs, so I’ve avoided doing them, but one of my goals now is to do more things outside my comfort zone, so doing a cross country relay could not be more outside if I tried. I was proud to be selected for the Harriers A team, as I couldn’t do the Northern Relays as I was only second claim this was my first chance to meet most of the team.

The good thing about the relays are they aren’t far for me to travel, the relays started at 1pm and was a 3k lap, I was suppose to be on either leg 5 or leg 6. After sat nav took us the wrong side of the Wythenshawe fields we still arrived in plenty of time. The conditions were crap if I’m honest. Rain and a strong wind meant it was going to be a tough race. I left family in the warmth of the car and went to find my team mates. I found the men’s captain Ed who told me I had been bumped up to leg 4. So I went to toilet, got my number on and then did a warm up running round the pitch as the leg one runners came charging in led by Olympian Tom Lancaster, such was the quality on display.

The time was flying by with most runners coming in under 11 minutes and before I knew it I was in the change over area waiting for leg 3 to come in. I saw the club vest and bang off I went, a quick dash down past the car park and sports hall. I was soon taken by a faster university runner. I decided as it was 3k to run as hard as I could and see how I could manage. The route snaked round the pitches, with each turn having to be carefully negotiated due to the mud, I was using other runners as targets, passing as many as I could. The first half of my lap was tough as it was into a headwind but I clocked 5:52 for the first mile. For me that was fab as I proved I could do a half decent pace on cross country, just need to learn to be more light footed and be able to sustain it.

I was now heading back and I was able to push on with the pace, passing more runners as I felt strong, I was cheered on by team mates as I snaked round the back of the far pitches on to the final pitch, as soon as I hit this pitch I kicked hard all the way to the finish to come record 40th fastest on leg 4. I was given 10:52 which for me I was very happy with against the university and younger runners who XC is their winter bread and butter. With each XC race I’m learning more and feeling stronger and confident, strange thing is it’s making road racing feel easier! So it’s having a positive effect on me as a runner.

After my leg I had other things on so said my goodbyes and off I went. Next XC is Saturday and heard it’s a real mud fest!!!

  • 40th in 10:52
Kit used in race
  • RonHill Club Vest
  • Zeon 6 inch Racing Shorts
  • Adidas Arriba Spikes
  • Sockmine Griplock lightweight running socks
  • Garmin 220

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