I always think of Leven as a funny sort of race. Every time I’ve run this course it has been one of those days where the weather can’t make up its mind. It’s windy and cloudy one minute, sunny the next and as soon as you head out with your shades on it starts raining. Oh and the finish is on a sports field which due to said weather will inevitably be a bit slippery. And yet every time the sun comes out and as I go round the course I am constantly surprised by the amount of shelter we have from the wind. I usually quite enjoy myself and barely notice the change of surface at the finish (i.e. I have not yet fallen on my arse!)
This year was no exception. Spurred on by the recent PB’s of my running buddies Laura and Phoebe and encouraged by my own performances at Beverley and East Park, I was out to run a fast race. My chose strategy was to pick a couple of people that usually finish a minute or two ahead of me and decided to see how long I could stick with them.
As we set off I was pleased to discover that I felt pretty good and had no trouble keeping pace. I don’t religiously watch my watch during races but I knew that I needed sub 5 minute kilometres to break 50 minutes (and my PB) so I was keeping an eye on the lap times. After about 3 km I was 20 seconds up and feeling good. I went past my chosen markers and by half way through the race was engaged in a game of alternating cat and mouse with an experienced and chatty gent from Bridlington. Every km or so he would jog on past but never seemed to gain any distance. So each time, a couple of minutes or so later I would return the favour. Although similarly I could never quite manage to pull away. It seems we were both too stubborn to let the other gain any real advantage.
The cycle was finally broken when a mile or so from the end of the race we rounded a corner and I saw in the not too distant distance a couple of Harriers I was thrilled to find myself in range of. Eyes focused on the bobbing red shirts I made a break for it and right up to the final sprint round the field gaining on them became my goal. As we turned onto the field I stole a glance at my watch – the sub 50 was on – I forgot about the grass and as those in front of me seemed to slow I sprinted round the final corner and through to a 30 second PB.
When results went live I was chuffed to discover that I had won the handicap race. Not that my other half noticed. He was too busy scrolling down the page looking for his own name (before realising that he’s only doing the odd race and is therefore not included in the handicap and wouldn’t be on it) to notice my name at the top of the list! To his credit when he finally came to his senses he rescued the situation by pointing out that although he has won medals and team prizes in the past, I am the first in our household to win something that you can spend at the bar. And if there is one thing we Harriers do even better than running, it’s re-hydrating afterwards. Cheers!