Report by Dot Kesterton
The scenic grounds of Thoresby Hall, Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, less than an hours drive from Sheffield, is the backdrop for this lovely trail race of either 10K or 10 miles over old military roads, tracks and grassy paths through the ancient woodland of the Thoresby Estate.
Having targetted shorter distances of 5K and 10K road and trail over this year I decided to up the mileage and enjoy a longer distance going ‘happy hard’, ie not eyeballs out gasping for every breath and not lolloppy, chatty, joggy sort of happy hard.
As far as I can tell the only other Strider in the race was Mandy Delaney though there were a number of Smiley friends there to share and enjoy the event as part of the Smiley Champs series.
Registration, check; number pinned, check; toilet stop, check; warm up with a jog and a bit of the old leg swinging whilst eyeing up the opposition and then off into the starters funnel for briefing and ‘GO’.
This is a chip timed race so it wasn’t strictly necessary to hang around with speedy types at the front. However, as I’ve noted before, runners are often reluctant to take up the front line, unless it’s Percy Pud of course, so I edged forward and presented myself among the young chaps who accommodate me knowing they’ll leave me for dust in a few short seconds.
My plan was to take the first third of the race at a comfortable pace, build speed towards mile seven and eight and then run on tired legs for as fast a finish as I could manage. So when the 85 minute pacer jogged by I let him go to maintain my own pace at around 9 minute mileing. Within a mile or so I’d caught him up so dropped back again to avoid going off too fast too early. After this had happened a couple of times and feeling quite comfortable with the pacing I stayed with him. By Sheffield standards this race has minimal elevation, around 500’ overall so it wasn’t difficult to keep a steady pace.
With the mild weather, a light breeze and the leaves just turning to autumnal colours I decided this was one of the more enjoyable courses for a race this year. Mandy had gone well ahead of me and my Smiley buddy was behind so at mile seven I lifted the pace for a stretch at 8.30mmp. I do recommend trying to run on tired legs as a tactic to improve strength and endurance. It hurts of course but it builds confidence so that when a race gets tough we know we can keep going and finish strong.
The pretty church at Perlethorpe finally rose out of the trees and after a welcome descent we were running into the final stretch beneath the imposing Thoresby Hall. Race done. One happy Smiley/Strider.
The winner (out of 280) was Kevin Quinn, M40-44, Cardiac Athletes, in 55:35. The first woman was Beth Owen, senior, in 1:15:07. Mandy Delaney, F45-49, was eighth F in 1:23:29. I was 10th F and first F55 in 1:24:26, a full 34 seconds faster than the 85min pacer. For a happy hard race that was a result and I didn’t really have to pant too much at all. The full results are here.
For those who enjoy a good, well organised trail race of 10K or 10 miles put this one on your list for next year.