(You may want to scroll down and play the song so you can listen as you read…. The song choice for today is a rather obvious one!)
This morning’s effort was the Pennington Flash Festive Five Mile race at Pennington Flash in Leigh. So up and out early on a Sunday then through to Sntellins (that is how you spell it isn’t it?) to pick up the Abel’s (Stu & Kiera) and Kiera’s uncle John, and on to the East Lancs for the short journey up to Pennington Flash.
As it’s only a few miles down the road we were there in good time to pick up race numbers and do what we needed to do before the race before heading towards the start and catching up with some of the other participants from Widnes Running Club. The race photographer caught us for a quick pre-race photo (I love a cheesy thumbs up):
Now to the race – I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d never ran this course before (there’s also a summer 10k and a park run at Pennington Flash), with the course being multi terrain, and with the weather not being great over the past week or so I was heading in to the unknown.
As it was a lot warmer that the previous day (see “Things Can Only Get Better”) I elected to ditch the tights – In doing so ended up wearing black trainers and white ankle socks. With my pasty legs this was a fashion faux pas. I chose to use my old black trainers as I was expecting muddy sections and the course didn’t disappoint.
As per usual I was not really feeling up for it pre-race, making excuses to myself like “I don’t feel to good”, “I’m tired” etc etc. Generally as soon as a race starts this tends to go away and today this was no exception.
Stu and I got to the start and positioned ourselves probably about right for us (just behind the first pack of fast runners), got the count down and then set off. I was keeping up with Stu for the first mile and half or so of the race, but the couple of hills in this section (although relatively small) took it out of me an bit and from mile 2 I was well down on him and couldn’t get it back. I was ok with this though because I had a target in my head and I was still on pace to meet this.
There were some interesting sections on the route, heading up some hills, some slippy sections of ice, some super muddy sections (I nearly went arse over tit a couple of times in the mud), and a couple of super tight turns, including one at near 180° which almost stops your running flow dead.
The scenery was really good, taking in views of “The Flash”, running through wooded sections, then alongside canals and water ways, and a short section across a small corner of the golf course at about 2.5-3 miles in which really sapped my energy on the soft grass. It was at this point I started running alongside a chap from St Helens Striders and we would stick together until the end of the race.
The course took us out near the sports village in the then back in the park entrance, before doing another small loop and running alongside the carpark. I resisted the urge just to stop and get in my car as we passed it and headed for the final section on the race. At this point my running buddy from The Striders asked if I’d ran this before, and after I answered “No” the bloke warned me that there was another little loop near the end, and not to go off too soon. I was thankful for this advice, though I didn’t think it’d make much difference as I was struggling to keep up my pace at this point. Sure enough the course took another little loop when it seemed that the finish line was in sight, but when I got to the 200m remaining sign I found something from somewhere and pulled away from my new found partner with a sprint finish.
I crossed the line in 39.15. In my head I wanted a sub 40 minutes prior to the race, so I was very happy with this, especially given some of the muddy and icy conditions (not to mention the couple of hills at the start – I’m rubbish with hills) so I’m very happy with this. This is also a 5 mile PB for me (though I’ve only ran one 5 mile previous to this I’m taking it as a PB).
After the finish I collected my goodie bag which contained my medal and a small Cadbury’s selection box (a note on this is a bit), and headed off to meet up with Stu and the other running club guys. We had some really good results for the running club, especially the 2 Andy’s getting a 2nd and a 6th place.
After cheering on some of the remaining runners and meeting up with Kiera and Uncle John we grabbed some mince pies on the way out and headed home.
I really enjoyed today’s run. There was good support along the course and from the marshals and it seemed a very friendly and well organised event. We had some interesting terrain with some good scenery, and I’ll definitely run up round here again, either in the next Pennington Flash event or I might head up for a park run one Saturday morning.
My final note on the selection box (and in no way anything to do with the race organisers). I was made up with my selection box, but, when on earth did CurlyWurlys get smaller than Chomps!?! What is going on with the world?!?
Peace and love.
PS – You can sponsor me at: