Still feels strange to type about a race win but that’s exactly what I’m doing. 🙂 Last week as I wrote about on Monday was my cut back week and wanted to race at the end of it. I had eyed up the Longridge Christmas Pudding 7 but I didn’t fancy two hilly back to back races. So I took to Twitter to ask if anyone knew of any races and Darren Chambers mentioned the Sneyd Striders races. The 10 mile version was into it’s 31st year and last year added the 5 mile race. The 5 mile was one lap and the 10 mile was 2 laps. I didn’t fancy back to back 10 mile races but decided to enter the 5 mile.
Now one thing I do with races, is look at previous results and also Strava for course profile. It was more undulating then Fairclough 5 where I set my previous personal best at 5 mile distance but looking at 2015 results, I fancied my chances of a top 3 finish. I knew my current PB would have been good enough for 2nd last year but I knew I could go faster given the right set of circumstances. I decided to go for 28:30 time (last years winning time) and see how I went. Having looked at the route I knew it was a fast first mile, then 2 miles of gain before a fast finish.
The trip down was boring, M1, A38, A5. In end it was a 160+ mile round trip but then distance has never stopped me for the right race. Personally I prefer racing outside of South Yorkshire. We arrived just after 9 and the organisers even had separate car parks for the 5 mile and 10 mile runners. Meaning those who were doing the shorter race could get out easier. After picking up my number, I did my warm up along first half mile of the route. I felt tired truth be told as past 4 nights, my next door neighbour seemed to think staying up to 4am talking at top of his voice is normal behaviour! However, usually when odds are against me, I seem to perform better. We walked under M6 to the start. Both races started at same time, the 5 mile runners had red numbers and 10 mile runners had black. Before I got on the start line Darren found me and said, hello. We wished each other good luck. Once we lined up, I eyed up the competition and the first few rows all had black numbers. So I knew I had a real good chance of a podium.
After the race briefing, it was go time. From the start a Morpeth runner was soon out front, followed by a Cannock & Stafford runner. Into 3rd place was a lad who soon paid price as he blew up within 400m, then it was me and Leicester Coritanian runner. For first 2 and half miles, we was in a right old tussle. I wanted a quick first mile and I got a solid mile. We ran out from the start, pass the school and the left down hill before we swung another left. This was through the housing estate. We had to do some weaving round parked cars and circumnavigate the speed bumps. The bloke I was tussling with, was a solid runner and kept trying to push away. I made sure to stick to him, I tried a few surges of my own to try and shake him. We hit the first mile was clocked in 5:26.
We snaked round the estate then we turned left onto the long Broad lane, straight into the head wind. This part of route was a gradual climb, we gained 34ft in 2nd mile and a further 54ft in 3rd. It might not sound much but when you are also battling a head wind it does make a difference to pace. As we battled a long Broad Lane we had to run on the footpaths that was a bit rough under foot. He finally pulled away about 2 and a half miles, I clocked 5:43 for this mile but if you take in the GAP (Grade adjusted pace) I was running same pace as mile 1. By now the field was strung out and I knew I need a solid 3rd mile. My pace dropped and I found this mile tough but I just kept chasing the guy who was 3rd in the 10 mile race. I never looked back as knew it was too early to worry about who was chasing me. As we finally turned off Broad lane mile 3 buzzed for 5:59. Wasn’t as fast as I wanted but given the elevation gain and wind factor, I was happy to clock sub 6.
Mile 4 on paper (strava) looked like a net down hill but I tell you now it didn’t feel it, after getting my second wind I picked up pace but as we hit the bridge over M6, we gained some elevation and added to that we had to negotiate road works, so pace dropped from 5:30 to 5:50 again. I clocked mile 4 in 5:52 not the time I wanted for that mile and the final mile started with the continuation of the climb before we made another left turn and down Sneyd lane that had 11 speed bumps. I really attacked this final hill and began to close the gap on the guy in 3rd place of the 10 miler. It wasn’t till the final turn and I heard a Marshall shout “first red number’s here” did I know I was winning the 5 miler. I turned the final bend to see my daughter and wife cheering me on, a quick glance to see no one behind me and I cruised over the finish line.
My official time was 28:38 and I know I can go quicker then that, which is a massive bonus. I was over the moon to win but also to get a new PB on a course I found tougher then I expected due to wind etc. 2nd place finished 47s behind me and 3rd place 1:52 behind me. So in the end it was a comfortable win, however it didn’t feel like that at any point and with me racing with the 10 milers it meant I was never 100% sure who was in what race. It kept the race interesting and to get another trophy for the cabinet was a very nice early Xmas present and I will be back in 2017 to defend my title.
I want to say massive thank you to Sneyd Striders for putting on a fab race. It made the long trip down well worth while and if you are after a pre-xmas blast I highly recommend it. Plus a final thank you to my long suffering wife who without her I would not be able to do these races.
- 1st in 28:37
Kit used in race
- Zeon racing vest
- Adidas 5 inch response shorts
- Adidas Adios 3 racing flats
- Sockmine GripLock™ Anklet
- Adidas Sweat Band
- Garmin 220