On Sunday 8th March, four Wigan Harriers plus a Wigan Harrier wannabe met up inside Wrexham’s Waterworld cafe for a vending machine coffee. Officially, only me (Mark Glynn) and Chris Green were fully vested up members, but Gary Charlton and John Moran had trained regularly throughout the winter and were waiting for their paperwork to come through. The wannabe harrier was Gary’s daughter Becky who came along to make sure that John didn’t get lazy. After some introductions and a conversation on whether Chris’ newly done, pink Mohican hairstyle would last the race, we ventured outside to find our bearings.
The start of the race was only a short walk away from where we were parked, which was useful as the weather was cold, wet and windy. This meant we could recce the start in our full winter running gear and nip back to the car after our warm up. It was all very well organised and we set off on time. The rain had gradually become heavier, so by the time the claxon sounded to set us off it was officially raining. This rain wasn’t just the fine stuff that soaks you through, but the driving, coming down at a 45º angle stuff that soaks you through and chills you to the bone as well. The first 3 miles were downhill, with a few sections of slippery cobbles in the town centre to negotiate before opening out into narrow country lanes. I tried to stay steady and not get carried away as plenty of people used gravity to help their early pace. The organisers had promised, “A fast course for both races with a few ups and downs along the way. Both routes have great PB potential” (There was also a full marathon option available). As the road headed north and the “few ups” lasted another 5 miles or so, I really couldn’t see that potential, but Chris and Becky took them at their word and went on to completely smash their pb’s.
The scenery was quite nice and even though the wind and rain was making it feel extremely cold, I was really enjoying being back racing again. The second half of the race, although generally downhill, was less scenic as it snaked in and out of the local housing estates. Although I started to gradually reap the runners that had gone off too fast, I tried to save some energy for the last 3 miles that I presumed would be uphill again as we went back to the finish.
The finish was just as well organised as the start and a local radio station had music playing plus an announcer encouraging you to push for the last few hundred metres. I finished with a time of 1:24:24, which I was more than pleased with. I’d finished in the top 20 and came 5th in my age group. As far as pb’s go it was my Vet 45 pb, so the organisers were right in a way.
Chris Green clocked 1:34:21; his previous pb was 1 hour 46 minutes. Even though the course said it had pb potential, the weather was definitely not pb friendly. His early morning runs with Gary Wane and Paul Platt had really paid off and this run must be a contender for the performance of the year. Next home was Becky in a very impressive 1:55:46. I’m not sure what had impressed me the most; the massive 20 minutes slashed off her pb or her perfectly timed sprint finish to beat her dad and John in the last 20 metres. Gary and John trotted casually across the line in 1:55:48 and 1:55:49 respectively, happy that they were both part of Team Becky’s fantastic achievement.
Finally, for those of you that were wondering whether Chris’s hair stood up to the wind and rain; unfortunately not. I think in those conditions he’d have been better using Araldite rather than Elnett, (other glues and hairsprays are available). Although it did look like it was matched to his vest.