Sunday 1st December was the third race in the Winter cross country league (BDL) – and a new venue to replace Bakewell. Ilkeston was the venue, and dry, clean and smooth was the course. I am, of course, kidding – just like the previous two races, it was a total mudbath. Extremely slippy in many places, boggy in others, it was another tough route to negotiate.
A fantastic 33 Harriers showed up (well done all!)
Making his eagerly awaited Harriers debut was Mike Blair. He certainly did not disappoint, finishing in 6th position overall, and 1st in the V40 category! What a start. Welcome and well done Mike.
2019 has seen some fantastic comebacks – My Chemical Romance, Supergrass, Rage Against the Machine…… and Simon Lloyd. Out of the competitive game for a while, he’s back in a Harriers vest at last, and back with a bang – finishing in 32nd overall position!
Another Harriers debutant was Mark Steele, a regular on the Friday night pub runs, and can often be seen breezing through Iron Man and triathlon events, he’s finally donned the yellow vest, and immediately made an impact by easily cracking the top 100, in 91st overall position!
Regulars excelled too, Nathan Brickman (9th), Wykeham Bosworth (11th) Ed James (18th) and Shaun Bott (19th) cracking the top 20!
It was the team results that truly stole the headlines. FIRST PLACE for the Mens team, SECOND PLACE for the Ladies, and a stunning FIRST place for the combined teams! What a day!!
Thank you to David Horton for setting up the club tent (we love that tent) and Richard Hickling for providing cakes (we love those cakes).
When fell race organisers themselves refer to a race as ‘challenging’ – you can bet that it’s going to be a tough one. Saturday 30th November saw a new addition to the fell race calendar (a modified version of the beloved old Baslow fell race). Now called the Baslow Bolt (catchy), the 12km category BM event takes in the stunning views of the Baslow/Curbar area, including Baslow Edge, incorporating over 1300 feet of climbing. I feel tired just typing that! 5 Harriers did this one, Ruth Keeley finished as 5th overall lady in a time of 1.04.50. Chris Clarke, Andy Stubbs, Anthony Marchant, Richard Hickling and Julia Buxton also completed the Bolt.
I should add that Ruth, Chris, Andy, Anthony and Richard did the BDL mentioned above, the day after this event!
The Nottingham Christmas Marathon (30th November) is a true test of mental strength (as well as the obvious physical test) – the course goes round and round Holme Pierrepont boating lake. Anyone who has done even one lap knows how mind numbing it is. Andrew Marsden took on the challenge, and here are his words –
“The one where I jogged 2 extra miles before I started, missed the start and set off on my own: I suppose it didn’t matter as it’s all chip timed and I wasn’t gonna be winning it but it still felt surreal jogging across the start line at leisure on my own. It seems there’d been a car park /signage /logistical mix up resulting in a whole load of us arriving late and feeling pretty annoyed but anyway… what is there to say about 8.75 laps round Holme Pierrepont watercourse in the freezing November mist and ice?! I actually did enjoy it. There was great support throughout from Wykeham and Jo who cheered me on about 6 times; the first time Jo shouted that I looked lovely, thankfully she was kind enough not to comment on my appearance as the race progressed! The first 4 laps went well, I eventually warmed up after about 10 miles, the gloves came off (literally and figuratively), the PB dream was still alive and slade was blaring out the PA system, all was looking tentatively ok. Then 2 miles later I was up at the eerily quiet top end of the lake, the atmosphere couldn’t have been more different, it was peaceful and calm, then another 2 miles and I’m being cheered through the lap finish line with “wish it could be Christmas every day” blaring out over the water and Santa stuff everywhere. It was weird. There was a massive sign advertising hot roast pork cobs to run past 8 times (bit insensitive I thought?!) Anyway my plan was 8 min/mile pace to at least mile 20 then review. Nothing spectacular happened and I kept the pace to mile 18 ish but just basically felt shattered, slow and freezing. My double espresso gel was a welcome boost but 8 minute miles just got harder and harder to sustain. A low point was crossing the finish line near the winner – sadly I still had 2 laps to go (which took an hour). But a high point was being joined after 22 miles by Mark on his bike – my own personal pacer from there to the finish, very much appreciated, it really kept me going, but apologies if my conversation was a bit wobbly /delirious. So there we go – on a positive note I did run the whole thing and it’s another marathon under my belt, but at 3:42 it’s 12 mins off my PB and I ended up so cold I couldn’t even hold my hot coffee at the end without throwing it over my arm. My mate Gareth I’d travelled with and most other people I spoke to were 10-15 mins slower than PBs so that’s some consolation. Thanks again Mark, Wykeham and Jo (and thanks also for the coffee), you guys were fantastic support, and our club camaraderie is awesome.”