the view from the middle of the pack

"the hopelessness of the long distance runner"

Knype Pool Charity Race

Club affiliations aside, I do genuinely love this race. This was the second time that I’d run and the previous time, last year, I had a virus so couldn’t give my best. I coughed and spluttered my way, tiredly round in 40:36. This year I was in fine fettle and wanted to push under 37:00, which is a decent time for a tough course.

The main reason that I love the race isn’t the fine scenery or the great family atmosphere although both are big draws, it’s the fact that I get to complete the fun run with my eldest son Thomas who is now 8. He ran the course last year, his first real race at the age of 7 and completed it in 9:40. This year he was determined to go faster and beat his Dad again. Unfortunately for Thomas he seems to have inherited his Dad’s inability to set an even pace and he went off like a rocket for the first 200m. The pace slowed a little around the rocky, undulating course but he still managed to power his little legs round in a wonderful 9:04 for a PB 🙂 Good lad and I can’t wait until he is annihilating me on a regular basis!

Mo who??

Mo who??

The race itself was near full capacity this year with 181 hardy souls lined up to a rousing welcome from the Biddulph town crier before he handed over to the Mayor of Biddulph to get the runners under starters orders.

After achieving a great time over 5 miles last time out over a flat course in Alsager, I was determined to try to gauge a better pace for a tough undulating course. Pretty much as soon as you set off you are greeted by a rather large and imposing hill to tackle before motoring across some flatter paths before hitting the ‘off road’ sections. Mercifully, the lack of rain in the preceding weeks had left the course, despite the odd muddy patch, as dry as you could reasonably expect at this time of year.

Taking it easy early on!

Taking it easy early on!

After heading off slightly quickly but much more reserved than usual I settled into a steady comfortable pace. There wasn’t much chance to maintain an even pace throughout due to the nature of the course but the energy sapping hills, steps and one pot-holed open field would ensure that most runners held a little back for the second half of the race to chase a good time.

I felt good throughout the race and having conquered my arch nemesis Monsieur le biscuit tin in the 3 weeks leading up to the race I felt much better than in the Alsager 5 and was rewarded with a 2nd placed club finish in a time of 36:10. Aside from a misjudgment down to looking at the GPS and thinking that there was another half a mile left I probably could have pushed Nigel Lindop harder than I did. I was holding back to push on over the last half mile and when I realised that I had misjudged, I put my foot down in the home straight. I also forgot to stop my GPS watch at the end so my race data was rendered useless!

For once, I was relatively pleased with my efforts and felt as good as I’ve felt since the Congleton Half back in October. Onward now to the Stafford Half on 17th March with my bro’ and hoping for a better race than Conwy at what is now my favourite distance.

Sprinting down the home straight to a nice bit of soup and roll.

Sprinting down the home straight to a nice bit of soup and roll.

Knype Pool 2013 finish time – 36.10 PB for the course!

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