Thursday, 27 May 2010


Wed 26th May location Parbold
View on Map
Video's show the race route [taken on a training run].
This has to be my favourite race, Dirt trails, challenging hills, fast downhills on grass, great racing and a fantastic friendly atmosphere, plus an amazing prize list and all for £ 9.00 for the series, AWESOME!

I travelled Down with Paul, Simon and his friend Dave, after signing on I went for a warm up with Steve McLean, we headed up to the top of Hunters hill then took in some trails round the Hilldale Quarry.

The race starts at the bottom of the path up to the quarry, there was a record turn out of 189 runners.

At 7.30 pm the race started, I was near the front, but not for long, everyone and there dog seemed to hurtle by me, my legs felt weak and my breathing was heavy. Two girls overtook me, I quickly pass them on the next flatter section only to have them pass my again as the incline increased it's grade!
I hung on the best I could, at last the top was in sight.
While most runners start to recover from there effort I swing to the side and accelerate hard, passing at least ten runners in front of me.

I push on and pass Steve, over a stile and fast downhill over the lush green cow fields.

I pass young team mate Ben, then pass 4 more before the next stile and a technical trail between rocks and trees. Out the other side and two more stiles to jump over, I accelerate again and lock onto a young guy who is dropping off the pace of the group in front of me.
Another stile and I'm out onto the road, 400m on. a left turn up Narrow lane and the start of the Parbold climb, i catch the lad in front as we emerge on to the Parbold main Rd, a few steps than we take a left turn, down a dirt bank to a stream, the young guy sprints passed me and jumps from one bank to the next, I pussy foot across the stepping stones over the stream like a girl!
Yet another stile and I'm out onto the fields again, climbing up a steep hill.
I'm surviving, that's the best I can call it, I pass the 'leaping, young lad and leave him behind, but young Ben comes gliding passed, making it all look very easy! I hold off a guy behind me, he's breathing 3 in and one out, still not been able to get a hang of this fragmented breathing in race conditions yet. My own breathing is ragged, i reach what I call the Escalator, a long winding farmers track that seems to rise into the heavens. four guys catch me, dam! I dig deep and cling on to their backs by the skin of my teeth. At last we reach the top after maybe 10 mins of climbing,a right onto the top rd and then left down a private Rd to the Hall. We jump a cattle grid and one guy attacks.

I pull in behind him and shelter from the wind!
Through a gate and along a dirt track, the trail climbs again, I drop back and fight to hold the other 3 runners off. over the top and turn sharp left, downhill over grass, I stride out, picking up speed.
As we reach the ruins of the old windmill [ see photo] I close in on the guy in front, up some steps and fast down a rocky technical trail.

The guys behind are breathing down my neck, I keep my cool and don't let them passed.
Over a wall and downhill over the last cow field, closer and closer i get to the guy in front! Over the final stile, I push all out down a concrete farmers lane, a left turn then round a bend with a 100m uphill to finish.
I reach the guy ahead but can not close that last second, sprinting all out I finish 16th in 36.39
Ben ran really well finishing I think 10th, steve was a minute behind me and Simon knocked a min off his P.B. with a 38 min run. Trace and Jo had great races, the terrible 'twins' ran 42 mins something!
Still waiting for the full Results.

After the race we had a few pints and enjoyed the prize giving, Happy days :]
Conclusion, running well downhill but lack power on steep climbs, going to start some plyometrics to put that right, plus add some Lydiard type hill springing into some of my hill runs!

Strength Training for Runners and Endurance Athletes: Why most do it wrong.



madeleine said...

Hey Rick, just came across your blog. I love it! I'm trying to get motivated for my first marathon and i know i'll enjoy your updates. so far, the furthest i've run is 10 miles without stopping. i have a ways to go- looking forward to your updates. you can follow me at

Scott McMurtrey said...

Fun report - sounds like a great race. I can see why you like it so much. I wish they had a series like that over here.


Hi Madeleine,
Thanks for your comments.
running your first Marathon is a great challenge, and being able to run 10 miles is more than many people can manage, so be proud of your self for what you have achieved so far :]
i think a good way to do your long runs is to fit in walking breaks, ie run 7 mins and walk 3 mins, the idea is the walking helps to stop your muscles getting damaged and gives them time to recover, the end result is your be able to cover move ground and spend more time on your feet :]

yeah we have some good race series here in the summer months, but man you have the most awesome countryside ever :]

Dave said...


sounds like you had a good run and are aiming to imporve for the next one.
A bit of advice please...I started at the back as I did not know the route or realise there was a hill right off!! We came to a complete stop at the first style in a 20 - 30 man queue!...did you guys at the front have the same problem? Don't know if I will blow out if I try to start close to the front as I was abour 9 minutes behind you non-humans..


Hi Dave,
This first race was part of the central lancs G P, so there was a lot of extra runners 189, expect to see maybe only 90 - 120 at next months event, so you should not have the same problem, even so it might be worth pushing a little harder up the climb, my recommendation would be start steady, then really push the last 3rd of the climb and keep going over the top, many runners ease up when they reach the top, go past them and accelerate :]


P.s. no queue at the front :]

madeleine said...

Rick, thank you so much for your tips. Just curious, how many kilometers (or miles) was this race you posted about? Also, I'm very interested in nutrition. If you have tips of what has worked and what has not worked for you as a runner please pass them my way. It's hard for me to step away from Ronald McDonald but I know I have to if I'm going to be serious about my running. Looking forward to your posts and thank you so much for your tips!

Grellan said...

Sounds like a fun race Rick, especially the few pints afterwards, well deserved.

Grellan said...

ps is this the 29th time you've run he rce???


Hi again Madeleine,
Nice to here from you.
The race was 5.3 miles long with a total elevation gain of about 1000ft.
I did change my diet quite a bit this year and i think there are a few things that might help you.
first on McDonalds, please check out these two links;

And this;

Scary stuff right ?
My best advice is cut down on highly proccessed food, it contains lots of nasty chemicals to help preserve it!
but what a lot of people don't know is many of these tasty fast foods contain large amounts of hidden 'SUGAR' as well as high levels of fat!
if you can cook using natural ingredients so much the better.
I started eating more fruit and veg and cutting out some of the crap!
After a while i stopped craving processed foods and I dropped 10 LB in about ten weeks.
After a hard workout I'll drink a low fat milk protein drink, this is good for rebuiling your muscles and for good bone health.
I think a good quality muti vit-min tablet is a good idea and I've had no colds or flu after taking codliver oil tablets from the start of this year, they really help with the immune system :]
Remember small changes can make a BIG difference over time, so more green leaf veg and plenty of Bannana's, along with grapes, berries etc.
But hey, let yourself have a treat every so often :]
Hope this helps you Madeleine.

Grellan, yeah I've run this race 29 times, the race series started back in 2000 with 4 races through the summer.
there was no racing one year due to 'foot and mouth disease.
I think I might hold the record for doing the most Harrock hill races.

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