A personal review from Shona Cowper, with a few words from Bev and Annette to follow …
Better late than never goes the phrase and that could easily apply to finishing races as well as getting race reports in to the website administrator (sorry Fiona!).
Seven sprightly ESM souls took part in the Ricky Road Run on Sunday 29th October this year for a course well known among previous participants for its undulating nature.
A few of us were new to the course (including me!) but with a good stint of hill training under my belt thanks to Lynn and Martin Wilson’s Monday evening sessions, I felt prepared to take on whatever lay ahead. Or up the hill, should I say.
I’m not usually one for tactical racing but my intentions of going sub 1:40 at the Ealing Half Marathon in September had ended in disaster, due to poor tactics as well as the stinking cold I ended up running with. Therefore, I decided that a 10 miler, and a hilly one at that, required tactics. In the half marathon I’d gone off way too quickly, pulled along by the enthusiasm of the other runners and that initial wave of adrenaline. For the Ricky Road Run I decided to start off sensibly – not too fast, just ticking along nicely. At 5 miles I’d then see how I felt and if I thought I could pick up the pace.
I don’t really remember much of the first half of the race, to be honest. Yes, there were hills, but I love a hill so I just took them steadily and was frequently overtaking people on both the ascent and descent. What a great feeling! At mile 5 it was decision time again. I felt good and knew I could start pushing a bit more. I must have pushed off so much that it was noticeable to others as one guy came up to me at the end of the race and said “you kicked off at 5 miles and I never saw you again”. That’s what I was aiming for! Those last 5 miles were tough but brilliant. I ended up running with a Metro member and a non-club runner – we all seemed to take it in turns to go to the front and push each other on. It turned out to be very helpful in that last mile because I again picked up the pace and they stayed with me, making sure I didn’t fall back into a slower rhythm once the last mile burn started! Unsurprisingly for me, both of them had better sprints in the final few hundred metres but we all finished very close to one another (I think the Metro guy finished one second ahead of me!) and I was so pleased to come in under 1:15.
This race turned out to be my favourite road race to date and definitely worked to my strengths. What was really obvious to me was that those Monday hills sessions really come into their own in races like this and it’s possible to do some damage to the competition if you’re strong on the hills.
And with that, I’ll continue into the cross country season and more hills to run up – wonderful!
Annette Galloway also gave the race the thumbs-up, adds Fiona Kennedy: “very hilly but lovely route in fabulous countryside”. Beverley Packwood has long been an advocate of this event, though you wouldn’t think so from her post-race comments: “Those first three miles were a killer!! Oh and that hill after mile 8. It made me swear”.
ESM results summary (chip times)
81 Shona Cowper 1:14:21, 179 Beverley Packwood (V45) 1:24:08, 203 Simon Turrell (V40) 1:25:49 , 250 Barbro Julin (V55) 1:31:08, 305 Annette Galloway (V45) 1:35:11, 332 Sarah Holroyd (V55) 1:38:15, 349 Jennifer Jones (V45) 1:41:06
Full results here