Over to Craig for this race report from the Sutton Park road relays from last weekend. Credit to Manisha and Tahir for the photos.
I always look forward to this race. It comes after a hard winter’s cross-country and is a chance to move from muddy running to firm ground. We are lucky to be able to run the race in the beautiful setting of Sutton Park on traffic free roads. I know the long hill isn’t getting any shorter or, perhaps more importantly, easier, but there is a flattish bit at the top and a longish downhill to the lake.
Just in case you’re interested. Sutton Park is the largest urban park in the UK and importantly for my wife and mates Nigel and Helen, has a donkey sanctuary. A good number of you have met my wife but I’m pretty confident in thinking none of you know Nigel and Helen who live in Cheltenham. The park was a royal park, established in Anglo Saxon times. It was given to the people of Sutton Coldfield by Henry VIII. There are so many facets to Henry.
I would like it recorded that I put up the tent on my own with Paul arriving right at the end to assist for 10 seconds.
The day was mainly cloudy but dry with a chilly wind.
Unfortunately, we only had 5 ladies so didn’t manage to complete a team. Julie had to pull out because she was unwell. I can report that all ran well. You can see that by comparing with the times for the men. Ladies and men run the same distance for the short and long legs.
Jenny led from the front by running the first leg. It is a difficult leg because the leaders go off very quick and this can be quite daunting for those following.
Meg must be pleased with her run because she was quicker than me and I know I had a good run. It was great to have Clare running who will be known to those who run in the veterans’ track league. A cracking time from Clare.
Rebecca has really come on over the last few months and this was another good performance.
Finally, there was Manisha and although she doesn’t always believe it herself, she has been running well this winter and this run is evidence of that.
The ladies’ times were:
Leg Time (min:sec)
I’ll say it now, the men were 58th out of the 58 that completed teams.
However, full credit to us for finishing a team and when you consider our average age we did well.
It is a tough long leg and Andy L, Tahir, James and Patrick should be pleased with themselves. As the race progresses the field spreads out quite a lot and on the long legs you often feel isolated. It sometimes becomes a time trial, so credit to you all.
Andy M must be training hard with Rebecca because he has performed consistently all winter, and this was another good performance.
Rob has been struggling with niggles in recent months so his was a good run. As I said in an earlier race report, we need Roman out racing and this proved my point. Well done Roman. Mick is an absolute star and still running well in his 70s. Thank you, Mick, because you are a fabulous example to us all. We had four going off in the massed start and the impression I got on the day was that we all thought we’d run well. The times show we did. Stuart runs better than he’ll admit too, and Mark, when he’s feeling well, can run a good time. Charles and I were pleased to finish injury free and even better there were a fair few behind us.
The men's times were:
Only 6 months to the 6 and 4 stage relays. Time to get ourselves even fitter.
Thank you to Paul and Gavin for coming to cheer us on. The support is much appreciated.