Friday, 24 July 2009

Harrock Hill

Sorry but no epic tale of Woe for this one.

After the weekends antics I didn't run Monday but was going to try a gentle trot out on Tuesday to track but because of some work I needed to get done I ended up not doing anything at all on Tuesday evening either. Nevermind though, this would keep my legs fresh for Harrock Hill.

The Harrock Hill Race is a nice local race for me. I like Harrock Hill. It's a nice Race, nice Route and I especially like the fact that the prizes are boxes of veg, and if you're ignorant enough not to hang around for your prize, then it gets given to somebody else as it should do (although a lot of people would have to leave their prizes for me to get one)! It involves a run around the back of Parbold Hill, very similar in places to the Parbold Hill Race route, it's a nice mix of field, track and trail.

After race 2 at Harrock Hill I was aiming for a PB as during race 2 I need the loo pretty much from the off and was forced to take a pit stop 1/2 way round. Only after crossing the line did I realise I was only 4 secs off my PB and was a little gutted, so for race 3 I was hoping to get a better time and a PB.

Arriving a little later than normal, the car park was nearly full with plenty of the usual faces about. When you enter this race they always give you a £5 off voucher for Sweatshop but whilst I completed my form one entrant pointed out that the Valid till date had already expired, apparently about 90 had already been handed out and nobody had noticed, you see we all do it for the love of the sport not the freebies ;-)

The race starts about 3/4 mile away from registration at the foot of Hillside Ave where there is a bit of quick socialising before the off. Tonight's race was delayed a few minutes though to wait for one runner who had to head back to the car park for shoes apparently, then off we headed up the the track road. The first hill is a good one to spread out the field and I am normally with the people I finish with by the top of this. I keep noticing a nice house for sale on this track road that looks out towards the sea, must remember to go and see how much they want for it. Not that I'll ever be able to afford it, I'm just curious. (Maybe I'll buy it when I make my first million with

Once at the top the path turns right for a short way before turning back (Where the Parbold race usually joins the road for a few meters) into the farmers field. I normally make up a couple of positions going down through this field but then you have to stop to cross the stile onto a narrow path on which there is really no chance of passing. Tonight I had managed to pass a couple of people in the field and caught up to a girl in a pink vest from Parbold Pink Panthers. With no chance of passing here I just plodded along behind her and then just near the end of the path she offered to let me pass however there was hardly any point now as I would need to stop to climb the stile in about 10 meters and I normally end up getting passed on the flat field we were approaching (flats are my weak area, along with uphills and downhills) so I told her to carry on.

As I thought, I didn't have the speed to catch her up across the next field however as we approached the stile she moved to the right to avoid the mud (It's a fell race love!!!) so I just ploughed right through and over the stile. After the next field you cross a small road were some unlucky resident is normally being held up whilst a stream of runners gander by. I heard two runners behind me now talking about the approaching field as last month the cows came running and bucking across our path with the runners and the cows not really knowing if they should run or stop. And yet again on running through the field the cows decided to play this game again. As the field starts to let you pick up speed the cows started to cross our path and I heard a shriek from the girl in pink behind me as she suddenly become worried about the cows.

Onward through the fields that followed you eventually come back out on the main road from Parbold hill and run past the school to the next left turn for a short run up the road and onto a cut through that brings you out near the speed camera on the road coming down from the top of Parbold hill. I don't like this section as I don't normally run well through here and get passed, and nothing new tonight as I was passed by two people including the pink panther who was asking now if it was 1/2 way yet. As we came out on the main road the race route turns back into the woods for a short way (The Parbold hill race heads up passed the Wiggin Tree here) and she kindly moved to the side and let me pass.

Once through the woods the race plods on round the edge of the field before crossing a couple of stiles and joining a track that leads you back to the road near the High Moor Restaurant. After this second stile I was caught up by the pink panther but she said she didn't want to pass and suggested I had a good pace for her. With her footsteps behind me I was trying to keep my pace steady so that she wouldn't get past me. Out and along the road past the High Moor and then you turn left on along the private road besides the restaurant. I took the opportunity to ask if this was the first time she had done this race and it turned out that this was her 'first race'. What a great race to pick as your first race.

Eventually the run along the road turns off and you start what I would class as the last climb. You don't really notice it much as a climb as it gradual and you're in the trees and bushes but I know the running is easier from the top of here (Nearly). Through three fields now and then over a stile and into a wooded area where you pass the old windmill (Emma has done the history lesson on this one). I love the run through here along the narrow paths but if you get caught behind anyone there isn't much chance of passing. Luckily the bracken wasn't as heavy as last month so just after the windmill was a slightly wider part that just allowed me to pass a slightly slower runner I had caught up to as I tried to start my burst for the finish. Just after this the path reaches a stile over a wall which leads to the final field, kindly the next runner I came up behind, who seemed less confident negotiating the few rocks that were on this path, moved over for me to pass and I climbed over the next stile and down the final field. I remember the foot of this field is normally just one big pile of mud but not this time and with nobody close enough to me I wasn't able to make up any positions coming down here either.

Over the final Stile and a track road leading to the final stretch. After a quick check of my watch I knew I would be close to my PB and as I started the final 100m climb to the finish I knew I wouldn't be able to beat my time. I tried to give it a little more pushing for the line but the PB just wasn't going to be had and I crossed the line 6 secs off my time in 49:26, gutted and annoyed with myself. I suppose the race at Kentmere could have left my legs a little tired but I felt like I had a good steady run and really thought I had done enough to improve my time but it wasn't to be.

Back at the pub I went into the bar to get a drink but as the results were ready before the barman actually got round to serving me I got the results and head for the car and home in a sulk. Of course the way home now went via the chip shop to make me feel better!

Next month had better be a good one as I want to end the Harrock Hill series on a high! A well done to Emma though who after having nothing but bad races over the past 2 months managed to knock 1 minute of her PB.

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