I’ve decided that running for other people is the way to go. Today i just wanted to finish the race, I wasn’t expecting to get a pb or anything. My friend Ali needed to around 45 minutes for a club standard and so my main aim was to get her across the finish in that time. A new friend Claire wanted some company to get around 44 minutes too and so we all agreed to run together. The plan was to start at 9/mm and then go from there. I wanted a good last race before Brighton Marathon next week so if I started to suffer I’d slow down and leave Ali and Claire to go on ahead.
We all ended up smashing it. I got a pb and a copper standard and it was one of my favourite races.
Hale 5 is technically not new, it was around many years ago and is a race on the Tour of Merseyside. When Run The Bridge was cancelled this year BTR decided to help plug the gap by hosting the event as a race in it’s own right. The race is held in a little village called Hale, in between Widnes and John Lennon airport and about half an hour from Warrington. Ali picked me up at 8:15 for a 9:30 start and we made it in good time. There’s actually no car parks near the race route so Carr Lane (pretty apt name) which runs down the middle of the route was turned into a one way road so that cars could park down it. It worked pretty well (except for the long trek back at the end of the race which seemed far longer than on the way there). The start was in Hale Park which was quite pretty and was a good location for the portaloos, baggage tent and everything and it was quite nice to run around it for our warm up.
The race actually started a bit slow but the pace soon picked up. A lot of the first mile is downhill so our pace was a bit faster than I’d planned but I figured it would make up for the uphill that we’d get to at some point. Although there was a few slight hills to climb it was a lot easier than I’d anticipated. I think if we’d known the route we could have pushed it more than we did because you can really take advantage of the downhills, especially the bit around 3.5 miles as the up after is a lot easier in comparison to what you get from the down (if that makes sense). I really like the route. It’s one of the few country lane races I’ve done that is completely closed off to traffic and so you can just run with ease without having to worry about what is going on around you. The scenery was quite pretty and varies enough to keep it interesting so I hope they keep the race next year. I think it helped that we had perfect weather too, all we were missing was a slight breeze. The last mile was my easiest but I could feel the rest of my little group flagging so I tried to push them on to the finish. I cross the line at 43:24 (7 seconds faster than my pb) with Ali a fraction of a second behind me and Claire a few seconds later. We all exceeded what I thought we would do and I’m pretty proud of how well we worked together. I did have to apologise to them both for sprinting off in the last couple of meters but I saw on the race clock how close I was to a pb. I got under 6:40/mm in that final sprint, all that track training is paying off.
I got a hug from the lovely Keith once again (And no, I don’t only like you because you give me medals Keith). I liked that the medal (although not as pretty as the usual BTR medals but still love it) had stickers to put your race time on it. Really glad I didn’t have to use any of the hour stickers and having a pb time on it just makes it extra special. We got a really great technical t-shirt too and the goody bag was as good as always from BTR. We got to stand around and chat for a while with some of my favourite tourists (some of the most welcoming and friendly people you’ll ever meet) and then it was off home for hot tub recovery and easter eggs. Great race, pb, lovely time with friends and still home by mid day to enjoy a sunny lazy Sunday afternoon.
I have to say that now that days are getting warmer I’m starting to remember why I love my Fitsip. I always burn up very quickly during races and so have to throw water over my head. This isn’t an issue on races that are 10k or over as they always have a water station but races uner 6 miles are not required to provide water during the race. Having the Fitsip and being able to sip water throughout the race stops me burning up so much and because of it I could hold a conversation through most of the race. This made it a lot easier to try and pace Claire and Ali. the Fitsip really works for me on shorter races and i would have struggled without it. I just wish there wasn’t so much excess material in it cos then it wouldn’t make my arm so warm (I reviewed the Fitsip last year if you want to read the full review).
There’s probably many people who will tell me that I shouldn’t have raced so hard the week before a marathon but my main concern was having a good race. If I was happy with how I ran and enjoyed it then I figured I’d be going into the final count down to Brighton with a positive attitude rather than stressing. I loved every second of today and I think I could have even pushed myself harder so I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. Running with a team of lovely ladies made it a pleasure and the pb and second copper standard (only need one more for a trophy now) just made it even better. I’m feeling ready for Brighton now. Bring on the 26.2!