Nine Wigan Harriers ventured south in search of mud, puddles, rutted paths, strong winds and heavy rain. They were certainly successful in finding all these things and it wasn’t even a Cross Country Race! Warming up running into a very strong headwind was an ominous sign for how tough the race would prove to be.
Arley Hall is the setting for the twice yearly Cheshire 10k road race. Billed as one of the UK’s quickest, nature certainly didn’t hold any of the elements back from the runners.
With it’s quick reputation in mind a number of the Harriers were looking to either sneak in a PB before the year was out or use the opportunity to sharpen up a little.
A field of over 1,000 took the start and after a few days of poor weather including heavy rain it was a relief it eased off a little. The majority of the Harriers grouped together near the front and after a few handshakes we were off.
The start and finish is on a non tarmac track which makes things interesting in wet conditions. We emerged from the Arley estate probably dirtier than most recent XC’s!
Stuart surged into an early lead looking to translate recent fine form into a new shiny sub 40 PB! With a pace close to 6 min/mile he was looking good for that.
Robin after an excellent 10k at Wigan was looking to utilise the gains from regular speed training at recent sessions, tracking Stuart at a respectful distance.
Watching on was Mike who knew there was likely to be a posse of Harriers just behind!
Completing the line up was Daniel, Paul B & Paul W for the men and Jayne, Kelly Anne & Rachel for the ladies. A very strong team!
After leaving the estate the route followed a loop around closed country roads although a combination of leaves, standing water and winds kept things from being too simple.
After the halfway point Robin picked up his speed and steadily reeled in Stuart who up to this point had been wondering whether he had been going too fast. This wasn’t the case but Robin had kept plenty back and was keen to finish strongly.
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Daniel attempts to dodge the camera!
Paul dances a gig so pleased to be finished.
Kelly Anne shows the men how to do a sprint finish.
In spite of the conditions a strong number of the contingent achieved their goal of a new PB. Robin, Stuart & Mike all breaking the 39 minute barrier for the first time – well done fellas! Kelly Anne and Rachel were also keen to share in the PB glory, both racing away to new PB’s! Congratulations also to the rest of the team for some excellent performances.
The course is highly recommended and is a decent one for that PB attempt next year!