The end of the school year can only really mean one thing – it is time to start focusing on running again, with the intention of being race fit in time for Equinox. Knowing that I was so far from where I would like to be, I needed a short sharp burst of runs at race effort over a short period of time. Cue: the Holme Pierrepont Grand Prix series.
The four race series is held over 2 weeks and is based around East Notts covering distances from 5k to 10k, costing just £25 for the whole series and including a series Technical Tee to all series entrants. In a revision to the previous race schedule, the first race this year was the Rushcliffe 4 – a 4.1 mile run around the grasslands of Ruddington country park. This race is characterised by having a massively wide start that narrows after 200m to a very thin path, so getting a decent start is somewhat essential or you get squeezed out and held back in the bottleneck. The race is half grass/half path and a lovely scenic route. It didn’t quite go to plan as I had to stop twice on the short distance to simply de-phlegm (nice??!!) but still finished with a 7 min pace in 28.49.
The usual race finale was the second race this year: a flat and dull 10k around Holme Pierrepont water sports centre. The course involves a lap and a half around the water’s edge, a bit on the surrounding roads, and a full mile finishing straight. The start was delayed 15 minutes due to cricket traffic and a breakdown closing off a lane, but this didn’t make up for my having to run “naked” (forgot my watch). Felt good all of the way around the run, but this good feeling was explained by my time. Finishing in 46.10 I was not disappointed, but knew I could have done better. This was the only race where I was accompanied by a fellow Strider as Vanessa Walker took on the course in a fantastic 56.48
The third race was probably my best by some distance. The Wollaton 5k required a great effort by the marshals to clear all the deer from the course just before the start. An undulating path/grass route that involves a tricky there/back section delivered my best 5k time since last August (it really is a summer thing?!) at 21.14
Finally, the series finished at Colwick park for their 5 mile 2-lapper around the country park. Entirely on pathways, this was the one race where I actually felt like the wheels had come off, but pleasingly only just missed out on a 7 minute average, in a time of 35.31.
Overall in the series, I finished 63rd out of the 275 runners that completed the series. Very pleased with the whole series, but work still to be done…. If only I had 8 weeks off work to do it… [Shane]