3 in 5 race reports.
Ossy Oiks Fell race report – Wednesday 7th June 17
The Ossy Oiks is the 1st of 3 races in 5 days for me and not an easy one to start off with. I’d previously done the race in its new route format 4 years ago and to cut a long story short I’d had a nightmare in the last 1.5 miles descending from the aerial station. I spat my dummy out and promised never to do the race again, after 4 years I’ve calmed down enough to try it again. The route is one of the trickiest on the Esk Valley fell calendar with a few different route choices not just at the end of the race but right from the off.
I got there early enough to do a warm up and to recce the start to see if I could gain an advantage by cutting through the woods rather than use the fire track.
I accessed the woods section well and when the race started I'd pretty much made up my mind of what route to take. Seeing the majority of runners split off left to go through the woods I stuck to the fire track, its a little longer but you know exactly what you're getting with it. Towards the end of the fire track I did have a little short cut up my sleeve and I used it to gain 20 metres on a competitor – marginal gains. The field came together again as we approached the Cleveland Way ascent to the aerial station and it was hard to tell if I gained or lost places.
For the middle section of the race I tried to keep it steady as to save something for the last climb but its hard when in a race and you don't want to lose places. Starting the last climb I tried to close the gap on Joe Blackett as I knew he's know the free-for-all descent through the woods to the finish. I failed in my task but was able to catch Rob Williamson instead another experienced fell runner who knew exactly where to go. Safely through the woods without losing any blood like I did 4 years ago I finished just outside the top 20, not a bad result. The nymac mens team came 2nd with Kev McLoughlin leading the way in 6th place.
Blaydon Road race report – Friday 9th June 17
I did this race last year and enjoyed it enough to enter again. Its an A to B road race and you have to enter within 10 minutes of the entries opening or you're not in it. Logistically its a bit of a headache working out where to park your car, getting to the start, finding a position within 4000 other runners, doing the race and then getting back to your car. If you don't mind doing a long warm up of 3.8 miles and a 2 mile cool down then it's doable.
The race is 5.7 miles from Newcastle to Blaydon with a couple of drags and also a couple of switchbacks which I like as you get to see all the runners around you. Not feeling as fit as this time last year I took the 1st mile easier and waited until it gradually went downhill before settling into a nice rhythm. My rhythm wasn't as fast as Kev Mc's though who disappeared up the road and also Phil Jarvis' who passed me at 2 miles with elbows out barging his way straight through the middle of a group of runners, he was on a mission! For a couple of hundred metres I struck with him but it was a bit suicidal so I backed off and let him go, there's plenty of other people to run with. I paced the race quite well and at the first switchback I was able to see the progress of Kev and Phil and also see the hunting pack of Richard, Darren and Lee. Richard was close, not good.
With less than 1.5 miles to go there's a tough drag up and over a bridge and its who doesn't slow down the most here that make the biggest gains. The final switchback I didn't look up to see where I was and just dug in but it wasn't enough to hold off Richard and he caught me with 200 to go.
Very pleased with my effort though and was only a few seconds slower than the previous year. Alasdair Tatham was 1st home for nymac with good runs by all the nymac members especially Darren Carroll, Barry Dunne and Kerry Jarvis.
Everyone Active 10K report – Sunday 11th June 17
The final race was a New Marske Harriers 10K and my target was to get near last years time of 39.30 or at least a sub 40. The New Marske Harriers 10K course is as fast as any being flat but its just getting your head round the 2 laps of the sea front and with the 2nd lap K markers positioned just before the 1st lap K markers. Unfortunately it's usually a windy race and again it didn't let us down for this one with it blowing strongly across the course. I didn't know how my legs would be but they felt ok in the 1st couple of miles and I was able to run an evenly paced race to finish in under 40 minutes. James Fahey was 1st home for nymac and pbs for Jane Wilson and Angela Ackerley.