This is my 6th or 7th year doing this event which is now in its 36th year, for those unfamiliar with this handicap challenge it’s an annual Boxing Day event with slower runners starting first with minute intervals with the idea of all runners finishing together.
If you haven’t done this one before it’s a great way to get on out there on Boxing Day rather than watching Goldfinger or polishing off the Quality street. Very happy to report this year got the record Stilton Striders turnout with Boxing Day regular David Hall (debuting in his Stilton top), Kaye Mead, Katie Hateley, Sarah Procter and John and Janet Hudson out for team Melton. Although this is now pretty much the same course as the Barrow 6 LRRL race probably 70% are in fancy dress, another 15% are hung over or taking it steady and the rest are semi-taking it serious.
Half between little confidence, half between fatigue I set myself an easy target this year of 7:30`s and an easy plod round a course I’ve never been fond of, I thought I’d be amongst old running friends in my group but set out with no-one I knew. The plan was to catch up with Katie who set off a minute earlier and run with her, although I was gently reeling her in and she was running a blinder, its David Hall I catch first on that awful undulating road out towards Hoton.Nice and steady as we hit the flat, I pass Katie who waives me on and next catch up with John Hudson where I slow up and run beside him for a bit, pressing on I find an injured and tearful Sarah Procter who despite running with painful injury still managed a sub 50 min time! My run takes me past various Fairies, Roman centurions, men in drag, Santa`s, jockey`s, Leprechaun`s, Schoolgirls and giant Chickens!
Last mile and a half I find Kaye Mead in Super Mario Bros outfit, she`s suffering she reckons, it was hard work but she did it, no doubt! I told her she`d done the worst of it lying through my teeth as that horrid hill back into Barrow loomed.
Heavy traffic round the park and then the long straight road back to Humphrey Perkins School and the finish, 41:32 in a course nearer to 10k than six miles and not even out of breath! That certainly bodes well for 2017.
The entire Stilton contingent had a great day and the praise for the event was unanimous, Barrow Runners put this on tremendously well and it’s a very friendly and supportive event that really is good for all ability of runners all for about £7 entry, see you again next year! [Rob]