(Report By Trace Peters)
Well the rain clouds managed to stay at bay to provide practically perfect conditions for the 6th Grand Prix race and 2nd Rubbish 5k of the series with a record breaking number of SWAC members turning up for the event (perhaps a fixture worth considering for GP competitions of the future?) This astonishing number of GP competitors was to be one of many records broken that day making it one for the SWAC history books indeed!
Unlike last months race my punctuality had improved somewhat as I arrived with time to spare rather than a mad dash to the starting line (I live so close yet that only makes it easier to be late!) After a hard session in torrential rain at Greenbank just two days previously my legs felt rather leaden and totally not up for the challenge of sub-20. My arch nemesis, Paul Talbot agreed as we started to line-up feeling rather pessimistic towards the final outcome!
Rubbish brain-child, Rick Bowker counted us down…3-2-1 and off we went. Ben Johnson zoomed off into oblivion – never to be seen again! Paul Talbot also shot off like a speeding bullet and through past experience I thought this would eventually be his downfall. So the plan was to stay behind him and slowly watch him disintegrate before my very eyes so I could shoot pass him at the opportune moment and claim my way to victory (boy was I mistaken!) Coming up toward the bridge on the first lap I noticed I was still running alongside Fell King Brian Davies, a pro at sub-20’s on this course, therefore if I could just stay with him then my goal would definitely be within my grasp. A game of cat and mouse ensued with me doing my impression of a drunken crab whenever I took the lead (sorry Brian). Eventually Brian managed to squeeze past me along with a conservative Dr. Tobin complaining about my pointy elbows as they sped off. It was at this point that gravity really started to take hold however I tried not to let it beat me and instead thought hard, fighting through the pain!
Further up the field, Ben Johnson was still just a tiny spec far out into the distance – nobody was going to catch him today. Steve Lewis had no one to play with but was still holding onto 2nd place with Neil Adshead not too far behind. This was pretty much the order of the day with Ben Johnson winning the race and totally smashing the course record in a lightning speed time of 16:45! Steve proved he’s better running in the dark by pretty much equalling his Torchlight 5k time in 18.34 and Neil took the bronze in 18.48. The Johnson’s proved that quick times ‘run’ in the family with Ben’s dad Rob completing the course in 18.59.
Meanwhile I was struggling through the second lap this time doing my drunken crab impression in front of a patient Neil Silcock. However just after crossing the bridge for the final time the path widened and Neil saw his chance and took it! I ploughed on through the trail path hoping to gain some momentum but my legs were having none of it. With a sharp turn left and down towards the home straight I realised that this time Paul Cain was hot on my heels and if I wasn’t careful would be overtaking me any second also. So I gritted my teeth and went for it with the notion that sub-20 was still on the cards. But towards the last 100 metres my Garmin ticked past 20 minutes and I knew the dream was over – NNNOOOOO!!!! 20:07 which at least was 55 seconds improvement on June’s race. Meanwhile my nemesis Paul Talbot was living the dream with a mega PB of 19:46.
Next lady in was newcomer Jen Boothby with a fabulous finish of 21:10. This was very close to my time last month therefore I could have some strong competition on my hands for 1st lady very soon! Coming up in 3rd place was race regular Rachel Thomas completing the course in a rather impressive 23.11 and a whooping 57 seconds faster than the previous race! Two other record breakers of the night included little Mathew Tobin who smashed the junior course record in 20.59 and running legend Steve James who at over 70 finished the race in an amazing 22:03 – utterly remarkable!
Just towards the end of the event there was one final surprise in store when a canine competitor decided to race Jon Singleton to the finish. It was a very exciting battle with Jon just edging it over the racing dog (my money was on the dog too!). And as we all stood about in friendly chatter and reliving our tales of the race, the dog decided to jump up at me several times to show its appreciation of my support!
As ever a big thanks to helpers Dave, Brian, Rob, Ben and Norm for their valued assistance and co-operation. Full race results can be found at http://runwitharthurlydiard.blogspot.com/2011/07/rubbish-5k-results.html with updated GP table below.
Round 3 is on Wednesday 17th August 2011, be there or miss out!!!