Friday Night up North!
Friday night in a small, wet Northamptonshire village may not seem the obvious way to start a bank holiday weekend but this year there were over 400 people who travelled to Blisworth for their annual 5 mile race. The numbers were boosted a little at the event last year when it was added to the East Midlands Grand Prix Series that includes the Silverstone and MK 10K's amongst their ranks, but it was 2014 that saw a strong contingent of fifteen journey up from "The Buzz" as it was the club's selected 5 mile championship!
The route is like a double ended spoon with a small loop around the village at the start before a much larger loop takes up 3 miles of the course. It is well known for it's very fast start down into the village, but you do have to climb straight back out of the village just after one mile. The rest of the course gently undulates, or rises and falls like a mountain range, depending on your mindset, but it does have a slightly downhill finish that enables some quick final flourishes.
Although the weather had been miserable all day, as it turned out the evening couldn't have been better for running, with a gentle breeze and clear blue skies in a pleasant fifteen or so degees. I don't recall hearing anyone whinging as we made our way to the start – and that is extremely rare!
On the ladies front, Liz, Helen and Katie H were the only representatives, but all ran well to record good times and give us an entry on the team list too. Helen's run was particularly remarkable, coming as it did just five days after her 50 miles on the North Downs, while Liz is using the season as a warm-up for entering a new age category next year! It was Katie though who took the honours on the night with a time of 38:29, despite having been somewhat under the weather.
If it has happened before, it was back in the dim and distant annals of club history that there were 6 men running less than 30 minutes for a five miler, but it happened on this night. The sixth one to scrape under was Tom Inchley, whose 29:57 was earned by trying to sneak up on Adam Haylock (29:53) in the last mile which very nearly worked. Adam was delighted with breaking the barrier while Tom was very pleased too after a distinct lack of recent training.
Ahead of them was Pete Mackrell who was doing his first road race after two months off mending his legs, – and there is a lot to mend – although he too was delighted with his 29:32. Pete was the fourth member of the team that took fourth place on the night, but frustratingly were only 15 seconds off third.
The rest of the team was Jordan, Andy and Glen with Glen taking the honours, despite being only five days after a 2:53 marathon in Richmond Park. Andy did briefly have him worried, but the fact that everyone hears Andy before they see him makes sneaking up – a la Tom – very difficult and the sound of someone who was clearly on their last legs encouraged Glen to just pull away enough not to be too concerned. Andy was equally delighted with what may well be a PB and certainly is for the last twenty years! Jordan's 28:18 was just a little way behind Andy, but he undoubtedly looked and sounded much better and it won't be long before he is just a speck in the distance for most of us.
There were some strong runs further down the field too, with Elliot just missing out on 30 minutes by 18 seconds and Gary running almost exactly the same as at Luton last year in 30:38. Nick managed to hold off the rapidly improving Sam Dear as they both ran in the 32's, while Chris Dimmock was just 30 seconds off his Luton time from last year. Fred couldn't quite find the form that earned him the club record last November, but he did give Katie a target all the way.
All in all it was a really good evening for the club rounded off with a burger and a couple of drinks in the bar as notes were compared. The next club champioship race is the Luton 10K on Sunday 20th July followed closely by the 5K on Wednesday 30th so make sure you have them in your diaries. Before then are five more of the EMGP, including the MK 10K on Tuesday 1st July.