Elswick? Never heard of it! Until yesterday that is.Lovely little village in the heart of Lancashire near Preston. A last minute decision to run this 10miler was a choice I’m very glad that I made. Despite the sweltering heat (which others assured me adds at least 5mins on to your expected time) this was a refreshing change from the usual jam packed, edgy atmosphere of some recent 5 and 10ks I’ve done…
Although this had a high proportion of club runners, everyone was in good friendly spirits, wishing each other good luck and up for the high temperature challenge. The thought of a free cooling ice cream at the end was a unique and very welcome novelty for this race. The exhaust free fresh air of country lanes twisted and weaved their way around the picturesque Elswick, with friendly encouraging marshals who were well prepared at the two, in the middle of bloody nowhere, water stations on hand…Taking into account a bumper load of injuries I was hoping for about 1.15.
I spotted a welcome Harrier face of Tracy near the start. I wished her the very best of luck and then gulped at her expected time. I didn’t see her again until I rehydrated after the finish.
This was to be the much needed kick start for my non existent (4 weeks behind) marathon training.
With tightness from a previous 5k race only 2 days before I started off near the front but quickly slammed on the brakes to adjust to the heat. In these baking temperatures I was determined not to burn out after a couple of miles. I reluctantly let a flood of runners pass me after about 500metres and then relaxed into a steady pace of about 7.45min miles.
One runner I passed seemed to sniff the air in anticipation of his ice cream voucher at the end. I didn’t have time to explain that was just lashings of ‘Dynamint’ on my shins. Slowed him down though….Somewhere around the 8mile mark I started to think of the free ice cream and if they had a banana flavour. This cooling distraction immediately forced an unnoticed slide in my pace to about 8.25min miles. I did however, start to pass quite a few runners who had obviously underestimated the heat. No chance of catching the other Harrier though.
With little left in the tank and a few very gradual energy sapping hilly bits creeping into the route, I couldn’t recapture the pace. After spending the majority of the race with only one or two other runners in my sights I managed to complete the course in 1.20.Which considering I was carrying one bleeding nail-less toe and an ever present shinsplints I was content enough with that. Tracy coming in at a superb 1.08 and a prize for her cat.
Well organised, very informal feel and a goody bag full of fruit? For such a small turnout and generally low key affair, this gem of a race had everything and more a runner could really ask for. Mobile Coffee on site, more water at the finish, great marshals, medal and a pleasure to be a part of.Well done Alan and the team.