For those who don’t know what interclub is, it is a mini road running series involving small number of running clubs that local to one another. For me and i am still not quite used to being a club runner, my series involves my club the Preston Harriers and the following clubs :
- Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde AC
- Chorley Athletics & Tri
- Lytham St Annes Road Runners
- Red Rose Road Runners
- Wesham Road Runners
- Thornton Cleveleys Running Club
Each club hosts one race and in most cases an after race buffet (The picture above shows the Harriers preparing a well stocked buffet ahead of Preston Interclub 2016). The races are free for club members to take part in and range from 4 miles to 5 miles in distance. Each race and the full series is made up of six championship categories – Open, Ladies, FV40, Vets, Vet 50s and Vet 60s. The points system works as follows
Open – First 10 to count, any age, any sex
Ladies – First 5 to count
Vets – First 6 men over 40 or women over 35 to count
Vet 50 – First 4 over 50 to count, either sex
Vet 60 – First 3 over 60 to count, either sex
This Wednesday (May 11th 2016) saw the staging of race two in the 2016 series, with Preston Harriers as the host team. Now for me, since Boston, i have done very little training. Not due to lost motivation or lack of interested but due a foot injury i am not sure quite what it is, but it has kept me from running to the extent that this race would be just the fifth time i have run since the marathon. I knew wasn’t in top shape, but at the same time i knew that i could at least get around the 4.2 miles course and at affect the scoring of our rivals. So there was motivation to get out and run, plus it would be good work for me as i try and over come my injury.
The race route is fairly challenging featuring two hill climbs on a two lap route (so four hill climbs) before finishing along a uneven path full of pot holes.
As i expected i found the race tough going, but i surprisingly managed to get around the first mile in a fairly quick pace despite my lack of training, with mile 1 completed in 5:52. Passing a number of runners who had started ahead of me, which in some ways was good as it ensured i didn’t set off too quickly but in others way i had made things harder for myself as i had to weave in and out of runners.
When i came to the first hill i intentionally slowed down, i knew this hill from parkrun Preston and i knew it was a tough one. Featuring a sharp climb followed by turning onto short gradual incline. Go too fast on the sharp climb and you’ll be found out when you find out what you thought was the top the climb, is in fact another climb. As expected many runners where caught out by this and on both laps, eomplying this tactic saw me go by several runners. However, the downside of the slowing down tactic and my lack of fitness was that miles 2 and three were completed at slower paces than i am capable of (6:16 and 6:23). However the upside was that i felt fresh enough to make one final push over the last mile, particularity over the last half mile as i raced to line in a group of four runners, each representing a different club.
I passed two of them fairly early in this move but the third pushed on hard and i didn’t have enough left to close him down, as each time it seemed like i had gain ground on him,he moved further away and then on home straight he took off. Feeling i had no sprint left in me, due to lack of fitness I deiced to just push on hard for what was left of the race. hearing a member of the crowed shouted “200 to g0”, I pictured our many track sessions and the many times i have made the last set the hardest of the session. This helped motivate me for one last push, working hard to making it as difficult as possible for those behind to pass me. As i knew, if they caught me, i didnt have it in me to fend them off.
The plan worked, but boy was i exhausted at the end, it was tough going, i had worked hard, completing the final mile in 5:51 pace. Good enough to earn me 29th overall (out of 321) and eight place Harrier, meaning my position would count towards our points tally. Time wise i completed the race in 24:22 not a personal best but a very respectable time.
After the race buffet was consumed with as much enthusiasm and effort as the race was run and the points were tallied up, with Preston tacking first place in the Open and the Vets categories. Two great victories on home territory leaving the series tables looking as follows :
Some race stats :
- 321 finishers
- 65% (210) males : 35% (111) female
- 65% (209) aged 40 +
- 14% (44) aged 60 +
- 35% (113) of runners from Red Rose Runners, 5% (17) from Thornton Cleveleys
- Winning time – 20:31 – male 20:31 , female 23:30
- Median time (all) – 30:28 – average time (all) 31:22
- Median time (males) – 28:33 average time (males) 29:42
- Median time (females) – 33:49 average time (females) 34:30