6 Dec 2015 – Derby Runner XC, Bradgate Park

The third race in the Derby Runner XC league, again although a slightly different route more a one lap course than the one small/one big lap it did last time. A huge crowd on hand again and they changed it round with the car parking so that Newton Linford wasn’t gridlocked like last year, we actually got a very decent parking space at the Old John car park so didn’t have to get the club tent out(!).

A mere three grizzled Stilton Striders represented the veined cheese today, Rob Beers, Greg Pettingill (Who knows every contour of the area) and Steve Dewick. I missed the juniors race whilst doing a warm up (up Old John!) with Greg only to come back and somehow develop cramp in both calves ten mins before the race started, no idea why they locked up could hardly move at the time, not ideal race prep.

Anyway we lined up elbows at the ready heading from the Old John gates heading towards Newton Linford before jutting left, Greg had got ahead in the opening elbow flaying contest and believe me it’s not fun trying to make headway in that to try and keep with him. Seem to be running well but put far too much into trying to catch Greg quickly rather than over a mile and this was detrimental to my race given the undulation of the race. So I shift past Greg only for him to go past me half a mile later and remain just in front of me throughout the rest of the race.

The ladies go off ten mins after us and we see them on the horizon, it’s a nice touch, I know it doesn’t happen at all the Derby Runner races but its nice shouting them in at the end. Legs don’t feel so great today maybe suffering from Fridays Stilton Bash! The pull up from Newton Linford to the war memorial has many grown men reduced to a walk; Dave Mann does a fiendish job with these courses. Take nothing off the Gregmeister, he is a wily fox with this area and looks very strong in the last mile (Although he said he wasn’t) and comes home first strider. I follow Greg home 19 seconds later (tell me a year ago I’d be 19 seconds behind Lord Pettingill on his own estate and I’d have laughed), very tough but enjoyable.

Overall Greg Pettingill (109th) Rob Beers (117th) and Steve Dewick (332nd), no Ladies team from Stilton! Next Derby Runner is January at Allstree Park, Derby, and no idea of the course if it’s a good one or not? I’m sure they make these as far from Melton as possible!  [Rob]