Another weekly fix from Howard Jeffrey: I went to do the Longridge 7 (near Preston) yesterday, better prepared to take the race to the Lancastrians (always tough) than last week in that I did not do a Park run or 3 hours on the turbo trainer on Saturday (only an hour).
I was warming up at the start in my ultra light racers and asked where the start was, as I have not done this one before. Just up there was the reply and then you go 4 miles up and three miles down! Whooa…. change of plan and change of shoes! I thought my racers might disintegrate if I was bounding hell for leather down a three mile hill. I had thought to bring some more robust but still lightweight racers with me ( I said I was better prepared)
It was cool and still at the start and then the rains came. 400 yards or so of level and then up and up and up!!! On the first bit of the hill I latched on to someone I suspected was in my age group ( he was actually younger but no matter) and had a battle royal all the way round.. which is what I enjoy most. I was strong enough up the hills and there were a couple of downhill stretches to break up the grind. I had taken it as a sign that the hill is actually called ‘Jeffrey Hill’ so I knew I was building up plenty up potential kinetic energy for the down. The hill actually disappeared into the clouds it was so high which I think was probably a good thing.
As ever the competition tried to burn me off going down the hill (he said at the end he was trying to see what I could do going down…tee hee …plenty!). There were actually times I thought I was going to run out of gears and he pulled away a couple of times which I thought at the time he would pay for later. During my warm up I had looked at the finish to see where to start the final push to the line. When we got to that point about 400 yards out, I still felt great and surged ahead.
As I changed out of my sodden gear I heard some of the others bantering…’expect your first over 60 again Stephen’… well maybe not.. Stephen! The winner of the o/60 is.. Jeff Howard from Otley AC (close enough!!!). There was a 65 year old in front as he had been last week but much closer and I had also beaten some-one who was a minute and a half ahead the previous week so all in all a satisfactory race which included a medal, Christmas pudding and a bottle of plonk!
The race was won by Karl Darcy, Bolton Harriers in 41.21, first lady Catherine Carrdus, Wesham RR 16th in 47.05. I was 35th in 50.23. 244 finishers. Full results here: http://www.ukroadraces.info/results/2014/lon7.htm