I’ve only run this race once before and I can’t say it was an enjoyable experience. What then possessed me to talk Gary Wane into doing it, thereby obliging me to join him? Probably the Kronenburg 1664 on Sunday night – lesson to be learned there. As “targeted” race day approached, there was an ever decreasing number of likely Harriers runners. Dave Waddy was obviously having similar misgivings to me as we emailed each other late race day afternoon. “I’ve been trying to think of excuses not to run, but ‘it’s going to hurt like hell’ is probably unacceptable” was Dave’s conceding agreement that we were going to have to run. A text to Kev confirmed that we would at least have a team of four, and there was even a hint that a certain PB expert might show up.
The race was part of the Central Lancs Grand Prix and so attracted a larger than usual field. There was also a “Junior Street Race” before the main event, and so when we arrived parking was at a premium. We abandoned the car in a thoroughly unhelpful place for runners and headed off to registration. Mr. Wane had already texted to say he was queuing for his number (?) but we were still surprised when we arrived to find the queue extending way outside the village hall. A ten or so minute wait ate into our critical pre-race warm-up time (honestly), and we jogged back to the car, quickly changed and went to do a few strides.
The familiar sight of Kev came hurtling towards us along the reservoir road, followed by Gary who declared that he had declined to warm up with Kev for now obvious reasons. It was also good to see Mark Lynch at the finish of the juniors race, having watched sons Adam and Matt both run well again. In a total field of 41 runners, Adam was 3rd in 5:35, and Matthew 8th in 6:08; the winner’s time was 5:07. Mark then lifted his shirt (steady on!) to reveal a number pinned to his vest. Get him signed up!
Compared to the fifty or so runners who had taken part at Haigh Hall the week before, this was a huge field of 255. Loads of familiar faces were on the start line, and we positioned ourselves a polite distance from the leaders. We imparted a few words of wisdom to young Gary then it was time to suffer.
Horwich is essentially a two lap race with a quite long and steep climb sandwiched between two relatively flat straights, before a quad pounding descent. It’s a really good workout and because of the large field there was no shortage of people to work off. Me and Kev had another Wrexham day, with hardly a yard between us for much of the first lap. I eventually gained a bit on him which I managed to hold to the end, but it was a tough race. There is a lot to be said for the “race yourself fit” approach to training.
I was more than happy to just dip under 31 minutes; 30:56, 41st and 7th (!) V50. Kev and Dave were just behind in 50th (31:12) and 55th positions; 2nd and 3rd V45. Mark Lynch had a great comeback in 95th overall with 33.25. Gary continues his improvement with another tenacious run, passing four people on the home straight to come in 113th in 34:23. He also did his customary collapse on the nearest solid object once over the finish line.
Next on the agenda is Harrock Hill on Wednesday 22nd May. Not forgetting the little matter of the Vets Relays on Saturday for us older members of the club.