Probably my favourite race of the year. I don’t know what it is about 6 stage day but I absolutely love this race. I think it goes back to when I was under 13 and the day my name made it onto the ‘fastest legs’ list. I was the last name to be shown on the individuals result sheet as 20th fastest. I still have that old tatty piece of paper tucked away in my cupboard to remind me of those days.
Having had a tough week I hadn’t put any expectations on myself what so ever. I knew I was in ok shape so I knew I could get round in a respectable time and I text my team manager Mike at Tipton saying I thought i’d run around 17:20. Last year I was fastest in 17:03 on 3rd leg but this year I was given 5th. I wasn’t too keen on running 5th as I always prefer being round people and trying to close little gaps. It didn’t bother me too much as it was all about the time and Mike wanted a strong performance on leg 5.
We got off to a decent start with Ian Williams on 1st and then Ade Holiday on 2nd bringing us back in 11th. Josh Lilly made up another place to 10th and handed onto Aspinall who got us up to 8th with another solid effort. I took over in 8th and I set off cautiously as I didn’t want to overcook things on the hill in the first mile or so. I made up 3 places by the time I reached the top of the hill but that was it for me in terms of catching others.
I could see in the diastase the yellow vest James Ellis of Newham and the white vest of Simon Jones. Both I knew started 50 seconds ahead of me. One of my training partners, Beattie, who was spectating was good enough to give me a time check as I started my leg. I knew although Ellis seemed close he wasn’t so I needed to judge my effort if I was to make any inroads into the lead.
It was a pretty lonely leg but there was good support from people shouting the Tipton vest on. Hinchy was at the top of the hill screaming his lungs and Bud was there too out which was great, it kept me motivated and kept me focused. I just aimed to keep my leg turn over going however I still didn’t feel like I was flat out. It was like I couldn’t get into top gear.
I moved ok in the last mile or so but I didn’t close in on Jonesy or Ellie much more and I think as I finished I was around 20 seconds behind in the end. I ran 17:19, bang on my prediction but I was a little frustrated that I didn’t go quicker as I hate feeling like I under performed but fitness limited me and also I had a pretty tough week at work leading into the race. I’m still happy to be running ok off not much training and I have high hopes for the coming winter. I know once I start to really up things the performances will come.
The night before the race I didn’t get in from work till 7:45 and then was still out running around 9pm. I ran via the fish and chip shop and picked up my tea, put it in a bag on my back and ran a mile home. Not my usual race preparation but it had to be done! I’ve brought a new meaning to Hainsy’s fish and chip Friday by doing that!