After a few weeks without a race I targeted the Lostock 6 at the end of February, which is just on the outskirts of Bolton. I like to do the imperial version of the 10k when I can, though surprisingly this would be my first outing at this particular race. Despite being a low-key affair, there was a good turnout at the front end, so I knew it would be a good test to see where my form is at.
Chris Steele grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck by setting off at a rapid pace, forcing me to surge off after him in the first quarter mile. It soon boiled down to a two horse race, though I was finding it difficult to pile any pressure on Chris and my attempts to lead were largely unsuccessful. I figured we were still going along quickly well into the race; I checked my watch at the 5th mile at 25:09, so we were well under last years’ winning time. We pushed the pace a bit more and I managed to get in front. I fancied my chances in the last half mile, but all credit to Chris Steele, he pulled off a ferocious sprint and I could only rally back to finish within two seconds of him at the end. Overall, I was pleased with my performance of 29:50.
On the following weekend I had two races lined up; Podium 5k in Barrowford on Saturday evening and Ron Hill Accrington 10k the following morning; the store I manage was sponsoring both events, so I ran in the less familiar orange kit (Up & Running colours). I travelled after work with my colleague John, who was also racing. The race organiser, Chris Barnes has really built up a cult following with this race; it’s no-nonsense approach has really struck a chord with the club running community. The conditions were pretty good, with just a mild breeze and with the quality of runners turning up, it was clear it would be a fast one that evening. The course is a flat tarmac surface and consists of 1km laps.
The race seemed to get off to a fast start, with Chris Steele, Chris Parr and Ben Riddell forcing the pace, with Chris Farrell and Chris Livesey just behind and myself further adrift. I was disappointed to hear the first split of 3:00, I was expecting 2:53/54! The pack then sped up more and I battled hard to get in the top five positions alongside Riddell. The next three laps remained the same; Ben and I were battling to stay in contact with Parr, Farrell and Steele. By the last lap I couldn’t quite stay with the front three, but had moved away slightly from the others and managed to cross the line in 4th with 15:00. The depth of the quality was apparent, as less than 20 seconds separated the top 10 finishers. The women’s race was even more impressive with a new record set by Elish McColgan in 15:57, a few seconds ahead of Dutch international Van Lieshout, with Helen Clitheroe finishing third.
The next morning was the Ron Hill Accrington 10k, which I would also be trading at with the store, as well as racing. I felt well recovered and was confident of having a good run. I got off to a solid start with local up coming talent Danny Collinge closely following; it took me a while to break away. I probably opened a bit of a gap by about the half-way stage of the race during a long gradual climb. After about four miles, the course turns back towards the town centre and is all downhill, it was here where the stiffness from last night’s racing crept in. I wasn’t able to fully capitalise on the fastest segment of the course and went on to finish in 32:49. It’s an okay result, but reckon I am capable of 30 seconds faster on there. Collinge was clear in second place with a very respectable 33:50 and it was pleasing to see Dan Balshaw, whom I coach, finish well in third. There wasn’t much time for me to relax, as I had to dash off and run 6 or so miles to Whalley then catch the bus to Clitheroe and work in the shop. Still, it was a good excuse to bang in a bit more training!
Results can be found here:
Podium 5k – http://www.ukresults.net/2016/podmara.html
Ron Hill Accrinton 10k – http://my1.raceresult.com/45620/results?lang=en#1_CFF7F9