So we’re now into November and the running gets to be more interesting. At least in my mind it does!
Autumn is my favourite season for being outdoors. The lush colours of the summertime are replaced with the vivid ‘after sun’ golds and browns as the trees draw back their energy from the leaves.
The Langley 7 – Raising money for the Rossendale Trust
Autumn can produce warm dry days which are very pleasant to be a part of. On the flip-side however, it can be very cold and wintery. It was very much the latter for the annual Langley 7 road race.
Langley is a village on the outskirts of Macclesfield and their annual 7 mile charity event falls at the beginning of November. The event, organised by Macclesfield Harriers is a fund-raiser for the Rossendale Trust.
For those that like a hill, but no more, this is a good race for you – it has a single hill. It’s just quite a big one…… On the plus side there is a big cake sale in the church immediately after the race. In addition, all finishers get a bottle of beer!
As I started this piece, yesterday was cold. And windy. The resultant ‘what to wear’ question bounced around the car park beforehand. Yes it was cold now, but the hill would warm us up. But the there’s a run across the hill tops which will be draughty. Decisions decision!!
I settled on the t-shirt / running vest combo in the end, hoping that would prevent me freezing to death on the tops.
Langley 7 2016 – we’re off!
The race started in the village next to the church as normal; runners filling the road and then having to part to let cars through before the firework rocket flew into the sky to start off proceedings.
It’s my third attempt of this race and knowing that the hill can sap one’s energy I tend to start a long way back in the field. This stops me going out too quick. Last year I got a great time of just under 49 minutes. I was in good shape then though. This year I’ve come back from injury. Oh and my back went a week ago and my stomach was off. The sort of preparation I’m getting used to!!
However, with a first mile-split of 6:55, I wasn’t for holding back. What is nice is that at about 1 mile the route passes the Rossendale Trust building and the staff and ‘patients’ come out to cheer the runners on. From a participant’s point of view it’s great to see where and to whom the money raised is going and to see how it will help them.
Although I tried to take the hill steadily it got me in the end. I had to walk a could of sections towards the end. The main incline of the hill lasts for about 2 miles with the steepest bit at the end. Still, despite walking a little bit very few people came past me.
As I always remind my own running group, the good thing about going up a hill is that usually that means a downhill bit follows. With one big hill in this race, that means the majority of the second half is downhill. This is the part of the race I enjoy. At least once I’ve got my breath and heart rate back under control from the uphill bit!
Whilst I’m a complete wimp when it comes to downhill fell running, on Tarmac I’m far more comfortable hurtling down. I can usually catch people coming down off this hill, however the group far ahead of me were putting down a serious pace and catching up with them was slow.
That said, towards the steepest descent to the bottom of the hill I finally got into their group. It’s at this point where the organisers changed the course in 2015.
A trail finale
The final stretch used to continue gradually downhill along the main road to the reservoir. Which was fine if you didn’t mind getting run over. There’s very little in the way of pavements here. The change replaced most of this with an undulating trail path. This is terrain I’m at home with as Lyme Park has a lot of trails like this.
It also has a couple of short sharp uphill bits which allowed me to pass the remainder of this group. By the time I was back on the road for the last push I didn’t have a huge amount in the tank. No sprint finishes today, although I surprised myself by catching one more person. The two in front of him raced each other to the line, so I just followed them in, hoping nobody behind me had any pace!
Free beer, a cake and a cuppa!
My finishing tie of 48m18s was about 30 seconds faster than last year and a surprise to me as I was anticipating about a 50 minute finish! I was the second Stockport runner in and 37th overall out of 270 finishers.