Better late than never… I’d forgotton to write this race report so apologies for that.
Mansfield was always pencilled in by John for me even after the Great South however the decision was to be made after doing a few runs and seeing how my legs responded and how well they recovered from the 10 miler.
I just easy ran for a 3 days then did a light ‘session’ of 2miles at 5:15 pace then some 30 second strides. The legs were ok so John said he wanted me racing even though I was bound to still be a little tired.
I always love doing Mansfield as it’s fairly flat, it’s firm and it’s fast running and that time of year when you need to see where you’re at in terms of training and it’s a decent indicator before Liverpool. One thing I didn’t expect was torrential rain! I got there and it was tipping it down. I sat inside the little clubhouse watching the Newcaslte game on my phone trying to switch off from the bad weather. Thankfully we went 2 up which put me in a good mood before I went off to warm up. That didn’t last long as I slowly got drenched. The worst thing was I thought I had some 15mm spikes in my car… I didn’t! Track spikes with 9mm’s in it was for me.
I was put on 2nd leg by Mike the team manager which was good as I love trying to chase down other athletes. Ade Holiday was on 1st leg for us, having also ran the Great South the week before and he had a solid run coming home in 20th place. I took over and set off on 5k course over 2 laps.
I went out hard as I normally do, I knew i’d pay for it but I just wanted to have a real blast out and hope the strength in my at the moment would keep my legs spinning at a fast tempo. I soon caught up a few lads and got Neilson Hall in sight. I was getting so frustrated though as I was slowing down for corners and loosing my balance on the cambers. I kept the pace going but I just couldn’t get on terms with Neilson no matter how hard I tried. All round the 2nd lap the gap stayed the same with him and I. We were both moving fast though as we were soon in the top 5.
I had Moses in sight, one of my training partners, and i’d joked on the startline I was coming for him! It didn’t help his confidence when rather than encourage him, his girlfriend screamed at him ‘McLeod is hunting you down!’ She got some stick for that.
I died though on the final hill, not too bad, but enough to slow my down so I couldn’t close in on him. I really picked my knees up, pumped the arms and then got round the final u-turn and made my way down the hill to the finish. The last little hill up to the finish was a nightmare, it was so slippy. I crossed the line to hand over to Dan Beier in 4th having past 16 athletes.
Moses had a flyer for someone who hates mud and brought his new team New Marske home in 2nd at the halways stage. Unfortunatey they faded back to 15th but were missing Ricky Stevenson.
My team Tipton finished 4th after briefly moving up to 3rd on the 3rd leg but we slipped out of the medals on the final stage as the course drastically deteriorated. The winners overall were Stockport Harriers with 2 new Mackem recrruits, Pat & Jack Martin.
Individually I was 6th fastest (15:50) of the day which was ok. At first I was disappointed as I thought I may have gone faster and I was 25 seconds behind the fastest overall. Then on closer inspection I noticed the 5 ahead of me were all on the 1st leg, involved in the race and on better ground with the course turning up so badly as the day went on. For me Pat Martin had the run of the day out of everyone there. He was out on his own on 4th leg brining the Stockport team home for the win and running 15:58.
So it was a good days work and it set me up nicely ready for a big weeks training. Next up, Liverpool Euro trials.