Curley’s Fishery 5K Trail Race (3rd of 3)

It is always pleasing to feel that you have made progress; more so when the data tells you so.  That was just one of the things that I thought about after the last in the series of Curley’s Fishery Trail Races.

I went into the race with a clear plan: to run as hard as I could.  This always presents a physical challenge, but on this course with its downhill, wet and uneven mixture of cobbles and potholes it’s a matter of concentrating hard too.

At the top of the first climb I felt like I couldn’t have worked any harder.  I had settled into twelfth place and could already feel the lactic build up in my shoulders. From the top it’s an undulating section of road and I promised myself that I’d get to the gate which marks the entrance to the woods without anyone passing.  I managed to keep this promise and felt like I couldn’t have pushed any harder.

The downhill sections through the woods are the places where, in previous races, I’ve been caught as I ponderously take my time over the rocks and tree roots.  I knew that I had a number of good descenders on my heels but the drier and more secure conditions underfoot meant that I felt more confident on such tricky paths.  I was caught by Paul and Marcus, two Burnden teammates.  There’s no shame in this as they are both superb runners, particularly off road.  But that was it.  In previous races I’d have been overtaken eight or nine times; but here I made a conscious effort to run as hard as I could wherever I could.  And it paid off.

The last section of the race sees the runners back on the uneven road section towards the start. This time it’s back uphill.  With a huge effort I managed to catch and pass the runner in front to take fourteenth place overall and second V40.  My time of 21:14 was my fastest of the three race series and a pleasing way to end this brilliant series of demanding spring trail races.

Results

Curley’s Fishery 5K Trail Race (2nd of 3)

I very nearly didn’t bother. With the second in this series of three races just a few days away from the Manchester Marathon, and with the course dusted with some freshly fallen hail, I did think twice before making the short journey over to Horwich. I’m glad I did go though. Despite being blasted by the hailstorm in the much needed warm up and despite being completely wet through before the start, it still made for an enjoyable evening race.

At first I thought that I might be one of only be a handful of people for race two. As I warmed up I passed a small fraction of the people that were jogging and stretching during the previous week. I knew it was cold. It was obviously slippy underfoot, but surely that wouldn’t put off so many runners. Would it?

I needn’t have worried. With a couple of minutes to go a large crowd made its way towards the start line: presumably they’d been seeking shelter in the dining rooms at Curley’s. And with that we were off.

I had chosen to take it steady. That last thing that I wanted was to pick up some sort of niggle just a few days out from the marathon. I did run fairly hard up hill, but I cautiously jogged the downhill sections. They were muddy, icy, and obviously slippy. With a bit of a push on the home straight I came in at 25th from 120 runners in a time of 22:40.

Again, a thoroughly enjoyable race. Well organised, supportively marshalled, and nicely competitive.

Results

Curley’s Fishery 5K Race (1st of 3)

Curley’s Fishery lies to the north of Bolton on the B6226 between Bolton and Horwich.  It was to here last Wednesday that I drove last Wednesday, on a bright spring evening, to take part in the first of three 5K trail races.

After collecting my number I had plenty of time to jog around the course.  This was easy enough to do thanks to the marshals who had used a combination of signs and tape to indicate where the route was.  And what I great route too.  After a slightly downhill sprint towardIMG_1178s the redeveloped Arcon Village, the trail rises up towards Matchmoor Lane before heading down to the brilliantly named Wilderswood.  Here the paths becomes a touch more technical with lots of uneven tree roots to help to keep things interesting.  A loop of the woods and the course subsequently takes a mixture of paths, roads and trails to head back to the start.  In short, not a course for a PB, but a great spring workout.  Brilliantly organised too!

What did I learn?

As always, on courses like this I really need to relax on the downhill sections.  I left a number of people on the uphills (where I always feel strong) only to have some of them skip past me on the downhills.  It is difficult for me to naturally disengage my brain when running quickly downhill.  So a focus of my training this summer will be to complete some downhill speedwork sessions with this specific aim in mind.

Results

22:28 (22nd from 149)

Results

Organisers