This one is going to be a quick one (I promise), as there’s been far too much blogging been going on recently. Wednesday evening brought with it the 2nd race of 3 in the excellent Wimbledon trail series – a recap of the first one can be found here.
After finishing in 5th position in the first race, I was hoping I could maintain a decent position in the series standings, but knew that after taking part in a middle-distance triathlon just 3 days previously the legs may not choose to co-operate.
The 5 mile route was exactly the same as the opening race, a twisty, undulating course on the trails of Wimbledon common. As usual, there was a huge turnout from Clapham Chasers, out for revenge after the Fulham ‘Wolfpack’ won the men’s race back in May (although our girls absolutely crushed it), and it was great to catch up with many of the Green Belt Relay crew for the first time since our brilliant weekend traipsing around the M25.
I’d had a swim in the morning, and during a quick warm-up jog the legs were protesting at the thought of another hard effort. However, I’ve learnt it’s nigh on impossible to judge how a shorter race is actually going to go until the gun (or whistle on this occasion) goes, so I stripped down to my vest and trusty headband and lined up ready to go.
After a quick start I could sense that it was going to be a tough evening, but had already resolved not to have any excuses to fall back on, trying to be in the present and concentrate on pushing hard from the off. I was in 6th, with the two Stuart’s from Fulham running right with me. I’d finished ahead of them in the first race but couldn’t respond as they edged ahead of me at the half-way point.
From here it was a real grind up the ‘toast rack’, and although I started to reel them in as we neared the top, once back on the flat they pulled away in the final mile. I held off a late charge from a chap behind me, finishing in 8th. The good news was that a couple of faster Chasers had turned up this time, and together we’d finished 4th, 7th and 8th, securing first team and a few beers to take home for the fridge. Result.
My time for the 5 miles was 29:10, 18 seconds slower than Race 1. I’m awaiting to see where the result leaves me in the series standings, but due to others not taking part in both races, I think I may well be 3rd/4th.
The best bit about these races is having a chance to cheer all the other runners as they come into the finish. As we should probably now come to expect, Katie continued her fine run of form to match my 8th place finish and 3rd Chaser home. As more and more Chasers arrived we formed a tunnel of noise at the end, with some great sprint finishes being displayed.
The prizes were presented and Martin, Sam and I went up to collect our beers. Everyone also receives a mug and a chocolate bar; what more could you ask for on a Wednesday evening? I’m glad Katie was able to run this time, as until now she’d been stealing mine from race one – what a mug.