Last night Blackhill Bounders hosted a social evening for 6 of the local running clubs at the tiny village of Snods Edge and the evening started with a 6'ish mile multi - terrain race. The first 3 and a bit miles on narrow country lanes and the final 3 and a bit, off road.
I felt this would be the perfect way to get back into racing and so lined up on a warm, muggy, country lane with about 80 others ready for the off.
The steep down hill start resulted in the obvious fast start (to fast for some) and at the bottom of the hill I found myself in 16th place. The steep downhill was, however, followed by a steep uphill section and this saw me move up to 12th. The rest of the next mile and bit were predominantly a steady climb and I worked my way up to 6th. The next two mile being, on the whole flat, saw two younger runners come past me, however I was able to maintain 8th place into the last mile. Having climbed at the beginning of the race, the last 2 miles or so were downhill and as we wound ourselves through the fields I started to lose contact on the Derwentside runner in front and was past by a young Tyndale runner. Entering a wooded section in 9th I was still hopeful of a top 10 placing. Out of the woods and hurtling (well it felt like hurtling) down two more fields, it wasn't until about 20 yards before reaching the boundary wall that my brain clicked into gear and I realised that there was no gate and that the wall would either have to be jumped (not by me) or traversed via a stile (so stile it was). Hitting (almost quite literally) the tarmac on the other side it was about a 600 yard incline to the finish. Making an effort to raise the pace I was disappointed to be caught by two other competitors 200m from the finish.
So 11th position it was ( all of those in front being much younger and nowhere near the Veteran age groups) in a time of 41.02. The race was won by Patrick Duffy of Crook in 36.48.
Although, looking at who finished in front of me , I would normally have expected to have finished in the top 6. I still feel I had a great race (following on from London situation) and really enjoyed it.
The race was followed by a fantastic buffet and a couple of pints.
THANK YOU Blackhill Bounders for a great night - I will be back next year, even if it is just for the curry.