Harrock Hill Race 3 – 22nd July, 2015 by David Collins
There was a seemingly smaller field at the third Harrock Hill race of this year’s series. This was reflected in there only being four Harriers in attendance – neglecting Tony “If you give me a form, I’ll join” Boyle. Serial Harrock Hillers Mike Harris and Shona Taylor were joined by Jayne Taylor (would have done Sefton 5 but it sold out) and Dave Collins, who couldn’t dodge the Mike Harris challenge for yet another race.
With familiar faces from other clubs missing it was more difficult to judge pace and tactics. Pre-race psychology and banter were not lacking though. Mike had rushed from home and managed to forget his trail shoes. The route was in fact pretty dry underfoot, but Mike’s pair of treadless triathlon trainers still didn’t look the best option. For some reason, he had also reverted to having a pre-race two course meal. The seeds were being sewn for any potential drop in previous months’ exceptional performances by Mike. He had also managed to forget to bring the bottles of wine that the teams had won last time out!
According to Mike, Dave set off like a rocket up the first hill. Dave can assure you that this was an illusion caused by Mike’s pre-race banquet playing on his stomach. In any event, the pair of them managed to get a reasonably clear run to the “Andy Eccles stile”, while further back, Jayne and Shona were boxed in, having to walk and queue in places.
The race took on its usual unpleasant pattern, with tough uphill sections intermingled with tricky descents over hard ground, and the annoying presence of stiles and gates. Mike was running a little cautiously in his slippery shoes, though the closest he came to a fall was a slip on gravel as he cornered a section of road in Parbold.
Dave plucked up the courage to go past Mike on the long drag up to High Moor, fully expecting him to re-appear on his shoulder later in the race.
He then had a battle (eventually lost) with fellow vet 50 Steve Gould from Wigan Phoenix.
The race winner was Danny Miller in a time of 33.56 – this a few days before he was to run the Lakeland 50! Lindsey Brindle was first lady, and 6th overall, in an outstanding 36.16. Dave was first Harrier home, keeping Mike at bay, to finish in 16th place, 40 seconds up on last month. Mike by his own admission struggled, and finished well down on previous months efforts, but still managed a very respectable 39.21.
Jayne was 3rd lady in 41.20, while Shona continued her race by race improvement, trimming another 10 seconds off her previous month’s time for 48.40.
Jayne received the customary box of veg for finishing 3rd lady (she was also 1st vet 50). Dave benefited from the absence of some regular vet 50s to also claim a box as 2nd in the category. Shona narrowly missed out, finishing 3rd vet 50, but some pre-race agreement saw Jayne hand over her box – there is only so much cabbage that one household can stomach! Without talisman Andy Kaufman, and Danielle Brearton (who thought the race was a week later!), the Harriers didn’t have complete teams, and so there were no bottles of wine for Mike Harris to take home.
If anyone fancies giving it a go, there is one final race in the series, on Wednesday 26th August.
Excellent race photos courtesy of Mark Sammon – thank you.