With all the reports of horrendous flooding in the days before this one, it was with a slight sense of trepidation that I travelled over to Cumbria on the Saturday morning. The organisers’ website had said that the course might have to be shortened if water levels didn’t recede, and when we got to Brampton they confirmed that we were to follow a shorter route to Carlisle, entirely on the main road, as there was a lot of lying water on the quiet loop to the south that is normally taken. On the positive side, weather conditions were … perfect! There was a bit of drizzle about, but it was quite mild, a bit breezy – but the wind was from the south-east, and so pretty much behind us.
Off on time, and the usual gallop down the road into town, before heading west. I checked the watch at the first mile, and saw 5:55, and thought I’d better hang on a bit! Then I got a couple of ideas. If I was on for a quick one, it was a right pain that this was a short course – a PB for 9.2 miles is hardly one to tell the grandchildren about! So I wondered about actually legging it round the soggy southern loop through the puddles, and doing a full 10 miles. Crap idea obviously, and the race organisers wouldn’t have been too chuffed. Then I remembered that last time here I’d actually clocked a PB for 10K at the same time, so I thought I’d push pretty hard for a good 10K time, hang in there for a couple more miles before legging it down the last hill. Much better idea.
Bit of a hill up to about three miles, and my times were slowing down quite a bit by now. Not great running conditions either, as the race car was making it very difficult for traffic to get past us all, so we were alongside cars and the odd wagon for most of the way – cyclists dodging in and out didn’t help either. A purple vest came up on my shoulder – it was David Gibson, newly-joined Strider. We exchanged pleasantries, but then I managed to pull away again, pushing a bit harder. Then 10K hove into sight, and I was more than delighted to see that I’d gone through it in 39:46, what I call a “recent PB”, and finally a 10K time under forty minutes. Hallelujah!
Slowed up a bit on the way into town. I looked back over my shoulder as we passed Rickerby Park – the whole thing looked full of water! Hammered down the hill half-expecting David to be coming past at any moment, but got home in a shade under the hour, as did he. I dashed straight into the showers to keep warm – quite cosy in there – then came out to see Barrie, Anna and Chris, all of whom said they’d done about 71 minutes, as had Phil, who’d outsprinted Anna to the finish. Saw Christine finishing well coming down the hill, before heading up to the Cumbrian Hotel for a pint of Guinness and a good lunch. A good race!
|1||Ben Gamble||Tipton Harriers||M||0:46:37|
|28||Jane Blackett||Morpeth Harriers||FV45||1||0:53:03|