Andrew Halliday reports: Conditions were warm but the course is exposed to the elements. I’ve raced the course 7 times over the past 15 months and this was the windiest I’ve known it.
Of the 136 runners, I noticed Stuart Hopkins of Kenilworth at the start line. As Stuart had run 33 min 5 sec in the recent Telford 10k, I knew he was the one to try and beat. Richard White, of BRAT, whom I had beaten the previous month, was also in attendance. Stuart and Richard went off fast from the start and went through 5k in sub 16m 30s.
I managed to catch Stuart at the 4 mile point, but had left too big a gap to claw back on Richard over the last mile. Try as I might, I could only claw back half the gap and lost by 10s in the end. Richard won the race in 27m 3s, with me finishing 2nd in 27m 13s and Stuart 3rd in 27m 23s.
My course PB is 26m 54s (in near-perfect conditions), so to run 27m 13s in very windy conditions was easily a better performance, even if the time was slower. I did, however, made the fatal mistake of underestimating an opponent. Richard was fully fit and had massively improved from the previous month. His performance was outstanding in those conditions.
The next Centurion race is in 4 weeks, and I intend to work harder, apply better race tactics and blast off from the start next time.
But the good news is I’m fully fit for the 3rd race in a row, and running faster than ever. It’s mainly due to my unusual training regime of not running but aquajogging! That aside, I am absolutely dreading the xc hills of Cofton having acclimatized to the flat roads and paths over the past 2 weekends of racing, and currently looking in the “Excuses For Not Racing When Fully Fit Manual” for guidance. So Rob, keep your mobile phone turned on!!!