Other Sports Magazine

A Pair of Shorts

By Jamesrichardadams @jamesradams

Well this weekend was supposed to be a nice 50 miler around the flattish Norfolk Poppyline run. However a combination of moving house, a friends leaving drinks and general can't-be-arsed-to-get-up-at-4-in-the-morning led to me ditching that and staying at home instead.

Perhaps I could say I was being sensible. I mean I do have an operation in 2 weeks time.

And a 123k race in 1 week.

So instead I signed up to a couple of much shorter races. I am thinking it is a good idea to do a load of shorter faster runs instead of always plodding the slow miles in preperation for the States. Plus it's nice sometimes to feel like you are actually running fast. All relative of course.

First up was the North of the Thames Cross Country Race

That's not me.

On arrival at the NOTT XC in Kingsbury I found that my name was not actually on the list of runners which was odd because I signed up. There were a few signed up who were not coming so I could take one of their places however it was important not to give me the number of someone really fast in case I disgraced their name. Not sure who I ran as in the end, whoever is the slowest.

I was already very muddy as the fields were waterlogged and we watched the girls come round past where we were gathered. There was loads of space between the 20 odd runners who were in the race, it was quite low key. Fiona and Teresa came through looking like they had enjoyed a good roll around in the mud and were quite close to the leaders.

The race itself was easy. The men had one "small" lap of 2k then 2 of 3k. It did not feel even that far. I stuck to Frasier who was faster than me just to try and push myself a bit. The first lap was crowded but it spaced out and I had quite a good run of it for the next 2 and ran up what XC runners call a "hill". It was not really a hill.

In places it was almost as muddy as the nationals but I was really enjoying it and constantly bearing down of Frasier with my loud plodding and heavy breath. He must have thought a cow was chasing him. After a slow start I managed to hold my own in the next two laps and gradually creep up the field.

My time was 34.22 for the 5 miles which is much faster than I thought and not far off what I'd do a road 5 miles in. I reckon it was a bit short. That is a massive XC PB.

At the ceremony everyone (except me) seemed to get a prize. Fiona got 2nd female, Teresa 3rd Female and 2nd Vet. The Girls team won the "4 to score". The mens team did not win any of the 4 to score, 6 to score, 8 to score or 12 to score (prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd in all - I think there were more medals than runners). It was just like end of school year where in a crowded room for an hour I regretted being a lazy distuptive shite all year while everyone else got layers with shiny stuff like Mr T.

Sunday was a glorious morning and a few days before I found out about the Harrow Hill Race. It was 6 miles, it was a race, in Harrow and yes it had a hill. I have never done a 6 mile race before and was definitely on for a PB.

It was bereft of Serpies as the club championship half marathon was taking place in Tonbridge that day. When I first arrived there was a noticalble older demographic there of people who have done the race 10 times before. I overheard one conversation which included "I don't bother using vasaline anymore, nowadays nothing ever moves fast enough to cause any friction". Nice.

We gathered at the start line and everyone kept on moving back to avoid starting first. This race has an added quirk of awarding a "King and Queen of the Hill" award to the first man and woman to reach the top of the hill at about half a mile. The only other condition is that you must finish the race. I was no where near the front obviously but I managed to stay ahead of the first woman and declare myself (quietly) "Queen of the Hill". Then about 20 meters later she overtook me and cruised off into the distance.

A pair of shorts
A great deal at half way

Basically the race is 2 laps. Uphill for the first mile, then down for the second and then up and down a bit for the third then repeat. Most of it is along pavements through Harrow and the roads are not closed but there is hardly anything around. After a mile I settled into a comfortable pace. I was expecting a time similar to a 10k on flat which nowadays for me would be about 40 if I was smashing it. I came in in just over 42 having screwed up the sprint finish (I sprinted towards where we started from but then discovered that the end was about another 100m along and up a hill). Problem with short races is that you can not walk up a hill ever.

I got a medal and thought this may be the shortest race I have ever got a medal for. Makes up for yesterday when on average everyone got 1.37 medals and I got none.

Not a bad weekend of running. I managed to complete 2 races at pace faster than Sharmans 100 mile pace. Really really looking forward to Gran Canaria next week.


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