The rainy and gloomy conditions seemed to have an effect on the turnout for the 2nd race in the 2016 handicap series, with only 2 of last month’s 9 race debutants returning to test themselves on equalised terms. Bryan was first away as the rainfall increased and he was confident that he could improve on his MV75 age group record, having deliberately curtailed his morning cycle ride to conserve his energy. Tom was scheduled to be next away almost 10 mins. later. I had set 2 stopwatches on Bryan’s departure as usual, covering for any mishap that may befall one of them. Unfortunately, I hadn’t catered for both watches getting a complete soaking and going completely blank. We managed to find a couple of spare watches, but I now had no base time for starting the remaining runners. The remaining runners waited patiently in the rain whilst I struggled, with a mind as blank as the stopwatch faces, to recalculate everyone’s new start time. This was probably a demonstration of my stereotypical behaviour as a tight fisted Yorkshireman. The batteries in the watches had been recently renewed, but they were driving inferior cheap timepieces. “Cheap things are not good. Good things are not cheap”.
Meanwhile, a soggy Bryan was splashing through the puddles awaiting the approaching sound of heavy sloshing footsteps and equally heavy breathing hunting him down. Crossing the finish line with no opponent in sight, he expected the announcement of a new record time only to be informed that he was the victim of a double stopwatch malfunction. Had he not been so exhausted, I think that he may well have attempted to thrust the offending watches down my apologetic throat.
Back in the reorganised race, Tom ran a solitary race at the front to win in a time that was over a minute quicker than last month’s effort. Greg just managed to overtake Gemma to finish 2nd, slicing a huge chunk off his P.B. and illustrated the possible benefits of marathon training for shorter distance events. Gemma knocked 30 secs. from her previous best and climbed above Sue Davies to 4th place in the all-time female rankings. This was just 2 days after she had won the Hereford Half Marathon in 1.29.18. Long may her glorious spell of good form continue.
Neil T. closely followed with another big improvement on last month’s time and Jo followed in a time just 8 secs. shy of her best. There were 2 course records set, with Gary G. erasing Guy’s name from the MV70 best rankings and Liz, making her debut, becoming the FV60 record holder and placing herself 15th on the all-time list. Oscar A. and Carol both sliced 5 secs. from their respective best times as they continue their progress.
My appeal for assistance paid dividends – I’ve never had so much help. Thanks to Martin Yates and Theresa Jones plus the younger brigade of Scott Jones, Alec Harper and Alex Powell – I think that, after maybe one more race, I can put my feet up and hand the event over to these fellas. Scott even manned my camera and captured some excellent shots. Unfortunately, I am struggling to post them on the website Gallery. Can I blame the weather for that ? Or am I just a thick old Yorkie Pudding ? Maybe I have overdone it celebrating the great escape for Sunderland AFC – Ha’way the Lads.
One more race, and a chance to set a P.B., on the 5 mile road circuit (on 14th June) before the series will be completed in Croft Woods.