by Elliot Hind
Last year James asked a few of the club to join him at a localish 5k race hosted by Alchester Running Club with the race HQ in a farm. I was sad to miss out, but wanting to break my 5k pb (16.37 at the time, now 16.10); I was determined to run this year!It had rained solidly for 2 days so I wasn’t sure about how fast a course it was going to be. I arrived with Sam and Jamie (one of my training group from MMKAC) and we were delighted to meet Richard at the start. We all had an aim for the evening; I wanted to run under 16.15, try and win and possibly run a pb, Sam wanted to beat Adam’s time (17.38) from last year and Jamie wanted to get under 17 minutes. I flew off the start in a pack of 4 and despite a small decline was shocked to see we had passed 1km in 3.02; had I gone off too fast? I kept good rhythm but as the road undulated and had a couple of tight turns our pace slowed. We were down to a front pack of 3 with 1km to go, but this is where the doubts crept into my mind. Could I really go under 16 minutes? Did I really have enough left in the tank to really go for it? Unfortunately, on this occasion the answer was no. Aaron Burgess from Oxford City (who I later found out ran 71 minutes at the Cardiff World Half a couple of months ago) pulled ahead and James Bolton from Woodstock Harriers AC (who came 2nd behind Simon and under 16 mins last year) followed. I didn’t have enough to respond. There was a clock at the finish and I could see beating my pb was going to be tight, I tried to push to get there but went over the line bang on 16.10, level with my pb! Beating myself would have to wait until another day. Once I’d stopped panting I turned round to see both Jamie and Sam had already finished! Jamie had stormed home in 4th place comfortably under 17 minutes in 16.48 and Sam continued his brilliant recent form coming 10th in 17.34; we’d all achieved our main aims for the evening! We jogged back to support the other runners and saw Richard who was looking very relaxed; he finished in a brilliant 24.40 to claim the v70 prize and a brand new Club Record! We waited for about 20 minutes for the presentation which took place in one of the farm’s barns. I was delighted to get a medal and bottle of wine; Richard, having won the V70 category had already dashed home so hilariously Sam stepped up to collect his prize. I thoroughly recommend the Cottisford 5k for future years. It’s a really well run event, almost completely flat and has a great atmosphere.