Wednesday, 7 September 2011



To a race often marred by gale force winds .........just like today!!

  Yesterday I made reference to a small, low key race. This date 25 years ago  I was competing in another Fylde Coast race but one that was somewhat larger.
  The WINDMILL HALF MARATHON was first put on by the Fylde Borough Council in 1983, attracting a large field of around 2000 runners and was repeated for ten years until 1992.  The race started inland on playing fields,  headed out to the coastal promenade,  
then continued down past the renown windmill to the east beach area and back.   The race served as a very popular late summer attraction but numbers reduced to 1291 in 1991 and at this point the council withdrew.  The 1992 being sponsored by a development company.
 One significant attraction without doubt was the chance of a PB for many on the fast flat course. Hence Steve Kenyon's course record time of 65.08 in that first 1983 race.
 But the event was often marred by strong westerly winds.  The 1985 race being particularly horrendous.  Gale force winds brought down the race marquees overnight prior t o the race and continued throughout the morning.  We were hit hard by sand whipped up and  blown at us; several runners being treated in A.& E. for eye damage.
 As we headed back up the coast I particularly recall encouraging the group I was in to run single file and each take a turn at the front to provide shelter for those behind.  Much the same as a cycling "chain gang". 
 The 1986 race,  25 years ago today,  attracted 2237 to the coastal Lytham and St. Annes resorts. Won by Liverpool legend JOHN WOODS in 66.38, my time of 71.09 was good enough for only 15th place; deemed "satisfactory"  in the diary, no doubt bearing in mind the Friday's entry refered to "pain stemming from left buttock down leg".  
(Much the same as nothing changes!)
Quality wise,  some interesting statistics,  64 ran inside 75 minutes.  193 inside 80 minutes and a very impressive 662 under 90 minutes!
  The race closed off week 36 of the year.  A week of 10 outings  including a cautious 3.5 miles the day prior to the race, totalling 70 miles.

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