Katie isn’t so bad afterall
There were a few messages flowing around the club facebook page on Monday morning while storm Katie was at her strongest, with a vague suggestion that maybe, possibly should the “Christmas” handicap event be postponed. Eventually it was decided that we’d all turn up and make a decision from there.
The Christmas Handicap used to take place on Boxing Day but after a few years of declining numbers we moved the event to Easter Monday three or four years ago and the turn-out has been much better. The trophy however, still bears the Christmas name.
This is a “blind handicap” race whereby each runner is given a predicted time but everyone goes off together like they would in a normal race. The difference is then that the winner of the handicap is the person that beats their predicted time by the most, so the last person to finish could still be the winner.
This year we started the event a little earlier which meant that we could all get home to our chocolate a little more quickly, the weather was slightly worse and we had nowhere to do the presentations. We therefore decided in a break from tradition that we would wait for the annual dinner to announce the results so I can really only comment on the run itself and not who the handicap winner is!
There were 13 souls who ventured out to the football club for the start of the run, with Jo Sharples as the only female representative among a dozen silly men! Following no warm-up at all Dave got us underway on the corner of Billington and Stanbridge Roads, with the first 2.5 miles heading straight out past the rugby to the bypass. Tom I got off to a quick start but was joined by Billy a mile or so in to the race with Andy, Tim & Adam in the chasing pack.
Sam was next with Charlie going for the gentle start option a little behind. There were then three more pairs fairly close together in Stuart R & Warren, Jo and Stuart D and Richard and Mark. Throughout the course of the race there was a little swapping around of these positions but the only significant change was that Andy caught the leading pair at the bypass on the way out.
The section past Mead Farm towards Billington was into a strong headwind and it was definitely a chance for some tactical running if you were near to someone, particularly as when you left the headwind you turned right up the steep hill. At the front of the field, Tom & Billy managed to drop Andy around the top of the hill before he battled back to them near the bottom, but with just over a mile to go Billy had a lace malfunction and had to stop leaving the brothers to battle it out.
In truth there was no real battle as Andy simply couldn’t hang on to Tom on the final hill up Billington Road and there was a six second gap in the end with Billy coming home not far behind. The other runners all made it home safely over the next 13 minutes, with most people measuring the course between 5.5 and 5.6 miles
There was a reasonable amount of whinging at the end about the wind and the hills, but actually with very little rain the conditions were nowhere near as bad as they might have been. There is now just one more trophy to be contested prior to the annual dinner on the 30th April and that is the Stag which takes place next Wednesday. Below are the race results, but they do not include the important bit, the handicap.