Wales has the Man versus Horse race but more local to home we have the Man versus Cow race, this being the second round of the Harrock Hill race series on Thursday 27th June. It was the same guys running as last month minus Waddi who was off searching for higher gates to vault. For a special treat there was also a bonus – Man versus Tractor!
Splendid sunshine again meant another bumper race entry of 217 runners, a massive turnout for this race. All the Harriers were early arrivals and able to beat the queue that built up for race registration and concentrate on a lengthy warm up. After a couple of miles gentle jog we were ready to race 5.2 miles at hopefully flying speed!
Dave Collins abandoned his steady at the start mantra and feeling in good form shot off at the start. At Harrock it’s a tricky one to decide what’s best, go fast and the initial hill climb can be murder, go steady and you have plenty of time to admire the view whilst queuing for the first of many stiles.
Mike Harris felt knackered warming up so decided to try the opposite approach and watched Dave disappear into the distance and so it turned out to be the first time Mike had suffered the Harrock queues!
Kev Edwards was running this race towards the back end of a really serious block of ultra training involving doubles and 100 mile plus weeks – a running beast. Running this race when fresh is hard so a big thumbs up to Kevin for turning out amid such a serious regime.
Jayne was relishing the opportunity to run Harrock without the risk of losing a shoe in the mud, like last year. The dry spring meant the ground had continued to harden meaning there was potential for fast times if the Harriers had the energy!
Shona was looking to repeat her PB heroics of the previous month but admitted pre-race that another 4 minutes off might be a stretch this time around.
The cows also had another month to sharpen their charging instincts, the first herd we past seem to be held back by either a farmer or marshall. I didn’t stop to look more carefully just grateful they were 100 metres away. Things got a little more interesting by the second herd. As I ran towards the field boundary I noticed about a dozen cows had started their charge, now these guys were in good form! I made it to the stile with a few seconds to spare, jumped the barrier and didn’t look back as they charged past. I was thankful they had not started their hurdles training and calculated it must have gained me a few seconds gap on my fellow runners behind. Phew scary stuff!
The mix of terrain and scenery means Harrock is a race that passes quickly and before long our team had accomplished most of the climbs and it was now a case of digging deep and seeing whether they could pick a few runners off ahead of them.
Awaiting us just before the end were Team Kaufman, Andy doing his best to either encourage competitors to race past his fellow Harriers or shouting about imaginary runners on your shoulder! A genuine thanks for the support and we hope to see you in your running vest again real soon.
First home for Harriers was Dave Collins in a fantastic 21st place, 36.35 was a 9 second PB for Dave, excellent running again. Due to a good turnout of V50’s he was robbed of a veg basket, a travesty!
Not far behind Dave was an enormous tractor and trailer that certainly did not have a kick finish but filled the narrow lane the race finishes in as it trundled up the steep climb. This meant Mike Harris had to do a diversion through the hedgerow to make the finish, all good fun! Mike was pleased too see that even with a steady start he had chipped 12 seconds off last month’s time to finish in 31st, 37.25, a course PB!
Kev shook off tired legs to finish in a very good 39.01in 51st spot. He again confessed to a dislike of off run running but he seems to have taken the best remedial action to cure it running by being signed up to run both a marathon and ultra off road within a month.
Jayne guaranteed their household would get their five a day by walking away again with veg basket for first L50 in 59th place. Jayne’s time of 39.41 was under the 40 min mark and a massive Improvement of 1.09 over the previous month, well done! Jayne’s regular collection of vegetables is so consistent that they plan for it now when doing the weekly shop. Veg stew for Jayne and Dave when they got home later!
A great evening and an opportunity to do it all again in a month. Dave Collins expressed his desire for a muddy one, so if it rains for 4 weeks it is his fault. The long range forecast seems to indicate there will be further hardening of the ground and maybe a chance for further PB’s, so hopefully we can tempt a few more Harriers to join us but maybe no more cows! A word of caution for Nina there are some hills but no mountains!