First ‘race’ of the XC season

November 29, 2019 0 By Stuart

Well, technically not a cross country race, but a decent amount of it was along some muddy, slippery uneven tracks so it gets close

Over the year Beeston AC organise a number of events for members. Unfotunately for me, all the others this year have clashed with being away or injured. So I finally got to join in the fun this week with the Single Gravs.

It’s 5kish handicap race. Everyone is given a handicap, which turns out to be based on their best 5k performance. Runners are set off in small groups at timed intervals, the idea being that if everyone runs according to their handicap there should be a pretty tight group finish…….

The 5kish bit comes from it being an old run from the club’s days of being the Plessey Club athletics club, so starting from their sports ground and then doing a lap of the Attenbrough Gravel pits. Over the years various things have moved slightly so it’s just over 5k

This years was a bit difference as well as the course had to be altered due to the still broken bridge in Attenbrough Nature Reserve. So instead of looping 2 pits, we did a double lap of the first pit. Which meant fun overtaking on the paths after the recent heavy rains

Oh, and did I mention first person was off at 18:30, so it’s a headtorch run! The fun of doing it all in the dark with limited vision with all the shadows from other people’s torches just added to the excitement.

My handicap was based on on my 5k PB of 19:20 which is about 6 months old now, and there’s been a bit of a lack of speedwork since then. Put me in the second to last group to go off, so about 12 minutes after the first guy set off.

Went off at a reasonable pace with the group. Stuck together round the first lap of the pit despite me producing more phleghm than power. At the start of the 2nd lap I found a bit of extra energy and pushed on. About here I started picking off some of the earlier starters. Got quite exciting on some of the narrower stretches with my headtorch batteries starting to give up the ghost.

Turned back onto the Trent path and solid ground, and started getting the pace back up. Managed to hold it until close to the finish line when I couldn’t keep up with a last push for the finish line

Happy with my effort, with Strava claiming a 2nd best 5k split on the run which I wasn’t expecting. No idea how close I was to my ‘ideal’ time, but the winner was within 5 seconds of his.

So a good start to the ‘season’ as it was. How much XC I’ll get in this year is up for debate with some weekends already taken up with work and other bookings.