On Saturday the 1st June, on a sunny Spring evening, 5 Wigan Harriers Gary Wane, Dave Collins, Jayne Taylor, Chris Burgess and Pete Mills descended upon Hollins Green in Warrington for the Peter Lowe Memorial Hollins Green 5k Road Race, (writes Gary Wane). After registering, the group started their pre-race warm ups. Pete’s had involved a 5k in Stockport and a dash to the car to drop off any kit he didn’t need. Dave and Jayne decided to jog the route and I politely declined. I ran the first 1k with Chris and then took a tactical toilet break so I didn’t have to do any more, I was happy to stretch.
Soon race time approached and the Harriers maneuvered their way to the start line. Twitchy bum time was soon upon me when I realised I was quite near the front with a lot of very athletic looking individuals talking of sub 20 min times. My aim was more sub 22 and a new PB.
At 4,30pm, the race began. I was carried on a Tsunami of runners at a far too quick mile pace for the first 800m or so. I looked around and the other Harriers had dissolved into the mele. I soon settled into the run and passing 1km heard a shout of “Come on Wigan Harriers,” from the Harriers cheerleaders, Mel and Chris Burgess’s mum, which inspired me to up my pace. a minute later, I realised this was foolhardy and settled again. The 2 km markers was soon upon me and not long after this I passed Pete who was starting to feel the pinch after his 5k run earlier in the day, as well his his extremely quick start. It was then my personal race began, as I caught up a group of 6 or 7 runners.
As we passed the 3km and ran to the 4 km markers, people were jostling for position. One gentleman in our group seemed to take offence whenever I overtook him as every time I did, he would put on a short bust and pull back in front of me a moment later. The final straw coming when he bumped me after passing very closely on a straight line of road and then dumped himself right in front of me. “Right then Sunshine,” I thought, “Let’s have it.”. As we came to the last half mile, the road rolled upwards and I went. I overtook him determined to leave the group and Mr Bump behind. Then the 400 m sign appeared and I dashed again checking that I had left the group behind. As I turned, just ahead I could make out a St Helens Strider top getting closer to me and everything made sense, eyeballs out time. My Wigan pride took over and I broke into a Usain Bolt sprint. Actually, he was tiring and I barley sped up to overtake him with 50m or so to go. I saw another target ahead but he was too far in front, another 50m and I may have had him, most probably he would have put a burst in to stay ahead. I shook his hand over the line and he turned out to be the V60 men’s winner. I crossed the line in 20min 26 seconds and had beaten the St Helens runner and Mr Bump so I was more than happy. Especially with new PB by just over 1min and 30secs. A PB that I had set in 2009.
I soon met with Dave and Jayne in the finish enclosure. It was here I found out that Dave’s lace had come undone and Jayne had nearly got close enough to give him a kick and push him off the course. Alas, he tied his lace too quickly and still romped home in 18mins 55secs. Jayne was close behind in 19mins 08secs and this was good enough for 1st Vet 50! Well done Jayne!!! Chris Burgess, who had been nursing a slight strain in his groin, managed to finish in very credible 20mins 11secs and would have finished much further ahead if not for a recurrence of his injury. Pete finished in 21mins 26secs in his 2nd 5k of the day!
The prize ceremony took place and we marveled at how quick the front runners where. I worked out that as I passed 3km, the winner was crossing the line! Also, that a high proportion of the entrants who finished ahead of me where vets. I have 6 years to catch them up them!
Later after finishing our drinks in the Black Swan and after Jayne had received her prize, Dave was working out if the had made a profit on the vouchers Jayne had won. he calculated, without taking his socks off, that they were in profit until buying beer in the pub post race.
All in all, sunny weather and a nice 5k course. What better way to spend a Saturday night. Chorley next, LETS HAVE IT!!!!!