Thursday 12th August brought the 4th and final race in the series of four at Wythenshawe Park. I almost didn't make it in time due to torrential rain and thunderstorms all afternoon, which had flooded Stockport, caused an accident on the M60 and resulted in snarled-up local roads. I arrived with 5 minutes to spare and envisaged having to grab my number and set off running with it in my hand. Fortunately the organisers understood our predicament and had delayed the start by 10 minutes, so I had enough time to pin the number to my vest after all.
Organised by Sale Harriers, these races have been going for a few years now. Although some impressive speedsters are always there, the races are not elitist and are friendly and welcoming to all who want to take part, including sponsored fun-runners/walkers. They are similar to and precede the very popular Parkruns, but they are much bigger and better supported (there is a goody bag each time). They got me into my first 5k races back in 2005.
By the time we gathered at the race track, the rain had already stopped, thank goodness. I set off nearer to the front than usual and soon found myself being overtaken by those more capable than I. The field soon settled down into the right order with little more overtaking as we ran the two loops of the flat course. I managed to run exactly the same time as for the third race, to the second. Call me Mr. Consistency if you like. Everyone who completed all four races received a commemorative medal that celebrates 100 years of Sale Harriers.
My times for the 2010 series are:
1 July: 22:10
15 July: 21:44
29 July: 21:59 (4 days after finishing the Lakeland 100)
12 August: 21:59
Compared with sub-15-minute winning times, the above times put my puny efforts into true perspective, but I know I could not have done any better. A heart rate peaking into the 190s tells me that if I didn't already know.