On Saturday I opted for a trip North to the Sherman Cup (Part of the North East Harrier League) cross country fixture at South Shields. It was my first time running in that league and unlike other Harrier league fixtures this was off scratch. Next week in the League fixture I will start in the slow group and try and gain promotion through the packs. Quite apt I think given that I was given a lesson on Saturday in how to finish a cross country race!
The story of the laps show a very positive start where I established a position probably in or close to the top 25...hard going and no let up of the pace I went into the second lap finding I was passing a few runners and at one point was counted about 18th place. Going into the final lap of three there were a few faces behind me that I was quite happy to be in front of (James Askew of Durham, the infamous Stewy Bell and NYMAC team mate Vic Brudenell). Two of these were fellow Vets with a bit of recent history...Vic "did" me at the Boro 10km in the final 600m or so and Stewy Bell "did" me in the final sprint of the Sunderland 5km in July. Was today my day?
I worked hard in the last lap and honestly thought I was clear of anyone behind but as I approached the final climb before heading onto the small loop finish I realised that I would need to up the pace to stay clear...two or three at least were closing on me ...fast!!! Surely it couldn't happen again!!!!
A glance round saw Vic Brudenell on my shoulder....he must have worked tremendously hard on the final lap to come alongside me and I all I needed to do was call on my reserves to match him in a sprint finish...first a Claremont runner and then Vic went past me - nothing absolutely nothing in the tank to match them...In the end an 8 second gap between Vic and I as I almost crawled over the line and collapsed to the ground. Gutted!
I finished 22nd in the end and 4th Vet. Not a bad result but it could have been much better had I got the final lap right...In the end I think it came down to just a lack of speed in the final 300m and probably a few too many miles in the bank over the past few weeks having maintained a mileage of between 50 and 60 miles for quite a few weeks now. Whilst it is always disappointing to be beaten in a close finish like that the blow was softened by reversing the defeat over 5km inflicted by Stewy Bell in July...ironically three seconds the difference which was exactly the amount of time I was beaten by in July by a fast finishing Bell!
Well done to my sometime training partner Steve Hepples who ran a great race to finish 2nd overall behind Ryan Mcleod and of course well done to Vic for giving me another reason to up the training in the next few weeks!
Today was the second NYSD fixture at Scarborough....in my younger days I would have thought nothing of doing two races in a weekend but somehow I knew that the efforts of yesterday at South Shields would not allow me to even think of doing a second XC race in two days. That said it was the intention to travel down to Scarborough to watch and if necessary don the spikes if needed for the team.
In the end it wasn't to be as Sunday league junior football with the kids that took preference. For some reason Tom (my youngest who is 6) was talking athletics on his way to the game (which they won 3 -0 for the record) and was comparing himself with Usain Bolt....I know he is quick down the wing but maybe this was taking things a bit far...he then described his friend Sam as Mo Farah because he is not as fast but can run for longer - keen to keep this conversation going I quizzed Tom further...
Dad (me!) - So Tom who is your favourite athlete of them all?
Tom - You.....
Dad - great Thanks Tom!....
Tom....No Dad I mean Yohan Blake!
Dad - really why?
Tom - Well he doesn't try and get a false start and he's cool!
So all in all Tom's Dad isnt cool at all cos he just cant sprint!