Wilmslow Half and Muddy Bottoms 17 Race Reports

Weekend Round-Up 24th and 25th March 2012

Despite the fast approaching Spring Marathon season Harriers runners continued a busy few weekend of competition at Wilmslow and Bamber Bridge this weekend. Andy Ratcliffe and Darren Jackson lined up at Wilmslow to tackle the famously quick Cheshire half marathon course, whilst Tracey Dutton bravely took on the ominously named Muddy Bottoms 17miler.

Andy was fresh from a blistering 10 mile outing at St Annes last week and set to continue his run of form even with his Manchester Marathon looming ever nearer. Darren was proving his credentials as a true Harrier by running against his better judgement with a niggling injury!

Andy stuck to his usual tactic of going out hard from the start and trying to hold on to the end. Its a method Andy says sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t: this years Wilmslow he categorizes as a “doesn’t”. Even so, a 1:21:17 chip time is an indication of the speed he is carrying at the moment. Andys perception that “the wheels fell off” at mile 12 proved with the benefit of Garmin assisted hindsight to be only a drop to 2:50 marathon pace, and promises plenty for the big one next month.

Darren Jackson had doubts about a calf problem before the race, but felt sufficiently confident after the warm up to head off a a spirited pace. Like a lot of popular events, Wilmslow suffers from a little congestion in the early stages, with the narrow beginning making it difficult to progress at first. Darren soon settled into a PB potential pace though and was looking good up to the 9 mile point when an increasingly tight calf dictated that discretion be the better part of the day.After stopping to stretch it out Darren was forced to abandon the event as a race and use it as another pre-marathon long run instead.

In the long term this will probably turn out to be a wise move as the calf was tight enough to require assiatance from the St Johns people in the form of an ice pack at mile 11. The story of his race is evident in the split times with a quick first 10k of 42:32 and an eventual finish time of 1:43.33 .

Muddy Bottoms

Tracey Duton continued the theme of mixed fortunes this weekend with a tough outing at Bamber Bridge in the Muddy Bottoms event. This is self navigated course taking place across some gruelling cross country terrain with mud promised in abundance.

Competitors are required to run in pairs for safety whilst out in the wilds around Preston, but Tracey was faced with a problem with a late cancellation from intended running partner Graham Millington. Graham had some lame excuse about sore legs following an ill advised run around the Fairfiled Horseshoe leaving Tracey to team up with a similarly solo runner from Morecambe called Paul.

Even with the benefit of 2 heads to do the map work the duo found the navigation tough. Tracey reports that although being 2nd placed lady at one point, numerous wrong turns saw them clock up a total of 21 miles insted of the intended 17. The finishing time of just under 4 hours reflects both the extra mileage and the difficulty of the ground covered, although Tracey claims that the pie and peas at the end made it all worthwhile!


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