I’m still playing a little bit of catch up on the blog posts I’m wanting to write and as such I’ve combined a couple of recent 5 mile trail races into one post. I’ve actually written about both races before, in 2017 which is why I’m combining the two, which otherwise have no relation to each other! Other than the fact they’re both named about running around something……!
Round the Runway 5
The Mobberley Round the Runway 5 (to give its full title) takes place annually in early May. Being restricted to only 400 runners it’s an event that usually sells out in days. It’s one of the earlier mid-week races in the East Cheshire area and it’s a fast and pretty flat (almost) 5-mile course which takes in country lanes, footpaths and a bit of trail surrounding the second runway of Manchester Airport. Well you’d expect an airport in there somewhere with a name like that!
Last year it was a sweltering race, despite being a 7.30pm start. This year, up until about 30 minutes before the race we experienced heavy showers. But the the clouds parted and we were treated to a gorgeous summer evening drenched in late-afternoon sun.
My 2017 race holds a mixture of memories. On the positive, I ran a very fast (for me) race. On the negative, it aggravated a piriformis injury which has only recently begun to settle back down! So for 2018, given I’ve done practically no track work, or that much training, I was planning (and expecting) something a little gentler than 2017. If nothing else to ensure I survived the experience without due damage to anything.
Here’s the route, profile and my splits:
I must say this year I found the race tougher than in 2017. As you can see, there is very little gradient in the race except for a short and sharp drop in the path to dive beneath the runway itself and a similar climb on the other side with about 1.5 miles to go. Having pushed on throughout this, the lungs are working very hard to keep the airflow going. The result is that this last section, with a less-than-ideal aerobic base, hurt like hell. There was no way I was going to slow down (too many runners around for a start) but I was fighting to supply enough oxygen to keep the body doing what it had decided to do. With insult to injury, I made a sprint for what I thought was the finish section, only to round a corner and realise I still have about 400 metres to go! Epic fail!
In the end I managed a reasonable official time of 32m07s; about 30s slower than last year but in the circumstances of the lack of training, I’m comfortable with the result. That 30 seconds deficit did have a major impact on my placing in the field, finishing just outside of the top 50 this year compared to being top 25 in 2017.
Knowing it was a local and relatively tame race, I included it in the Lyme Runners Race series, and a fair few managed to come along and have a go. Some may have even enjoyed it!
Round the Resers 5
This is my 3rd visit to the reservoir just outside of Tintwistle and Hadfield and the race occurs on a Wednesday evening in mid-June. It’s another relatively straightforward 5 mile trail race and again one which I persuaded a few Lyme Runners to come along to do this year. Most of them have tried a few fell races this year, so I was completely confident that they would lap this event up.
It’s the second year that they have provided race t-shirts rather than commemorative mugs and I think it’s still a better option (the mug I got in my first race was decorated with primary school children’s drawings which looks slightly odd given my lack of primary-school aged children!). This year’s t-shirt is even better than last, as it includes the names of the 3 sister races that make up the Longdendale Trail Races. I’ve done two of them, with only The Hadfield Dash left outstanding; it’s during the week ahead of Snowdonia this year, but hopefully I’ll get along and have a bounce around the course!
I got my place via a transfer of a place which was all organised and sorted at registration (although I’m sure I’ll have to get them to fix my name in the results as they wrote it down completely incorrectly!). It turns out that I was one of a small number of Marple Runners who had turned up to run this evening.
Having decided I wasn’t going to go flat out this evening I found I’d started a little further towards the front of the pack than I’d planned. I figured that wasn’t a problem. The first section of the race is on the service road which is rather narrow; there’s often a bit of rejigging of running order through this bit as it’s downhill; basically people start too quick and blow up and others who started further back push their way forward. It could be carnage, but it isn’t!
After almost a mile, the relatively flat trail does a sudden drop before climbing up again. This is the hill that catches those who went out too quick! And as the race is two laps, if it didn’t get them the first time, it generally does on the second lap! Here is the profile, course and my splits; interestingly the hill looks like a non-event on the profile:
After the climb comes a bit of undulation before crossing the dam at the other end of the reservoir and then a zig-zag descent on the other side. It’s then a pretty flat woodland trail run back to the top end of the reservoir before starting the second lap. I generally bided my time until this woodland bit where I tended to pick off runners in front of me. Although I didn’t leave so much in the tank that a sprint finish would be available.
However I did take a few places (still awaiting the official results). My watch time finish was 33m40s which is almost a minute quicker than last year’s official time. That said, I think they messed up the timings last year as my watch suggested almost 30s faster. Either way, 2018 was quicker than 2017. Somehow!
I grabbed some water at the end and then waited for the rest of the Lyme Runners to finish:
And here’s a sneak picture of the t-shirt:
Yes, purple seems to be the race t-shirt colour of choice for 2018. But another high-quality item provided at a small and inexpensive race. Well worth the £10 entry fee!
And with that, I think I’m up to date on the 2018 race write-ups. Hope you find them useful!