Race Date: Sunday 5th September 2021
The South Cheshire 20 is described as “20 miles of frequently hilly, mainly country lanes through Weston, Englesea-Brook, Betley, Wrinehill, Shraleybrook, Audley and Barthomley. It certainly was hilly….and hot…..and also rather lonely – with only 200 or so taking part, we got pretty spread out over 20 miles! On the upside, the race was well organised and marshalled, with very little traffic on the route and a lovely chunk of flapjack at the end.
I did this race to check out my marathon fitness after a relatively relaxed London build up. I set off at 7.5 mpm pace, but found the first 3 miles hard going and was starting to feel really concerned about the next 17. I decided that my main aim was to enjoy the race, finish feeling okay, and take confidence into London; so I had a chat with myself, settled into 8 minute miling and started focusing on process over outcome. I even made an adhoc decision to walk at all 5 water stations, to make sure l got the full cup of water down in the heat. Something I have never done before in a race but really rather pleasant and l think probably helped rather than hindered my time!
Around mile 12 I realised I was feeling pretty good and so upped my pace and really started to enjoy the second half. At mile 17 I realised I was reeling a couple of people in, which gave me the urge to properly race, and the last 3 miles were my quickest, ending on a 6.40 mile, which was obviously a massive buzz at the end of a long race! So in the end a good boost with some valuable insights for the marathon – the main take home being that a steady start and a strong finish make for a much more enjoyable experience!
First woman: Claire Howard (vet 50!) in 2:20:20. First man: Chris Pownell in 1:59:06.
Full Results: here