2017 – 9 months to forget, 3 months to remember plus the Xmas handicap
There has been many a time this year when I have thought about quitting running due to ongoing back problems & sciatica symptoms, however my determination to succeed & not be a quitter plus my love of going to that place when you think you can give no more but can kept me going. I think the turning point came in September when I saw my neuro surgeon who referred me for a nerve root block injection to ease the pain referral down my leg, oddly finding this out seemed to ease my pain maybe it was the relief that finally something was going to be done about it.
Earlier on in the year I had put my name down for the three peaks weekend not really knowing what my situation was going to be come the end of October, with the pain relieving slightly I decided on some training runs around Brantingham in the weeks leading up to the three peaks weekend, with every training run I felt a lot stronger with my turnover gradually returning & minimal pain during & after the runs. Whilst the miles, terrain & steepness of the three peaks is lot more than Brantingham I decided to give it a go. A pleasant enough morning greeted us little did we know what to expect on top of the peaks, I’m grateful to Andrew Deyes & Neil Seddon for letting me run 75% of the route with them they definitely kept me going & also to Rich Buckle for the pointer in getting off Ingleton I was like a lost sheep & to Kris Hopkins for pointing me the right direction home, I was more than happy to complete the route in just under 6 hours & despite some cuts & bruises from my falls my back & legs felt fine. As always a great weekend away with the Harriers.
And so on to Mansfield relays, Guy Fawkes 10 & Goathland Half Marathon – I always love doing Mansfield as its great to run as a team & was an honour to lead off the B team despite been a little overwhelmed by the quality of runners I was competing against however you only get better by running with the best, I completed my 5k leg in 21.33 slightly slower than 2016 but just happy to be back running again with the Harriers & so to Guy Fawkes 10 the following day I was slightly nervous on the morning of the race as I hadn’t ran on pure road since June, I didn’t set myself any targets just go out at my own pace & see what happened, for the first 8 miles I felt reasonably comfortable however the last two miles I struggled a little with fatigue & cramping in my calf but more than happy to go sub 74 on a tough course. Whilst I don’t like been beat by certain runners I was delighted to see Steve Taylor cruise past me towards the end he’s had a tougher year than most & it’s great to see him back up there. Goathland Half – my first Hardmoors event, again I signed up early in the year for this one as they sell out quickly, with the confidence from the last few weeks I was determined to give it a right good go, the route was stunning with some great views along the way & despite an early fall on some rocks I was so chuffed to finish in just over two hours & 11th place, special mentions to Martin Hardy & Alan Smith for great runs in the half & Matty Hayes & Danny Wilson in the full marathon both awesome as always.
Nerve root block injection & Rudolph’s Romp – Thursday 30th November injection day despite a little faint afterwards all went but I was unsure what the after effects were going to be, woke up Friday feeling a little heavy legged but this was to be expected so at this stage was 50/50 on Rudolph’s Romp as it was only 24 hours away. Romp day came & I decided to give it a go knowing I could pull out at one of the checkpoints if needed. A stunning winters morning greeted us & the snow on the high points added to this. For about the first 13 miles I had Kris Hopkins for company, Kris has improved so much this year all down to hard work & great training plans so with that in mind I thought he would kick on & leave me however it was the other way round I felt really strong the injection was definitely doing its job. I have to say I have never felt so good on a long run & steep hill & devils staircase came & went in a flash & I even managed a strong run in to the village hall. My best time previously for the Romp was 4.19 so to finish in 3.32 was incredible & took a while to sink in, 11th place again & yes I know it’s not a race but it was a buzz to get back to the village hall with not many runners back. Again great runs from Matty & Danny & also Tom Dawson & Jeff McQueen, the corned beef stew has never tasted so good.
Xmas handicap – with all the above said plus a good run in the previous winter league race I was confident about a decent run in the Xmas handicap, I have to say I was little nervous about some of the start times I had given especially Mike Hargreaves going off at 2.39 but as the results will show Mike had a cracking run & finished 16th in the handicap, however with that said my start times are always what I think you can do there will always be some unknowns like a new runner but I try my best to make it a sea of red at the finish. I set myself off with Kris Hopkins just to keep an eye on him as somehow he had made his way to the top of the league, after a mile I kicked on from Kris knowing he wouldn’t be top of the league after this race. I made my way on the ploughed field, now the innov8’s are great grip but I seemed to be accumulating most of the field on them & felt like I was going backwards but not as backwards as Shaun Alcock, hungover much Shaun. As I made my way on the gravelled path before the turn for home I realised I had passed a lot of people & thought this isn’t going to end well for the handicapper. I made my way to the fence which we had to traverse to find Nippy hauling himself out of the ditch just lately Paul had taken over my mantle as the faller. I continued to pass people on the stretch towards the bridge & the last mile, heading off the bridge I was giving words of encouragement to those I passed I won’t repeat what Steve Poulsom replied to me however maybe I shouldn’t have said you can go quicker. As I approached the final bit I had Gary Forrester in my sights he must have heard me breathing heavily as he put on a spurt & I had no chance of catching of him. Gary was crowned the men’s Xmas handicap winner with newcomer Maria David taking the women’s although special mention to Magdalena Zaremba who was the club winner as Maria hasn’t been a member for long enough to qualify. Some great time in quite tough conditions & all in all the handicap worked well with lots coming in together.
Handicap winners – ladies & mens
1) Maria David – 71.43
2) Magdalena Zaremba – 72.23
3) Alison Hayes – 72.52
1) Gary Forrester – 73.32
2) Mike Petersen – 72.36
3) Matty Hayes – 72.41
Actual time winners – ladies & mens
1) Anneliese Tomlinson – 45.18
2) Kirsty Wilson – 46.25
3) Magdalena Zaremba – 48.38
1) Mike Hargreaves – 33.55
2) Robert Weekes – 35.17
3) Matty Hayes – 35.26
I might be one of the quietest in the club & don’t say a lot with words but I’m very grateful for everyone’s help & support over the last year it’s been tough at times but this is a great club to be at & I’m looking forward to a great 2018 with London Marathon in April been the highlight.