A LOOK BACK AT THIS DATE 25 YEARS AGO
I have a slightly different approach nowadays when training and racing is not at quite the same intense level as it was 25 years ago. Nowadays most of my weeks are much the same, all being well. But back in 1986 , concentrating almost entirely on road competition , having started the "season" in January, by this time in November I was ready to call an end to racing and would be cutting the training back for a period of recovery. Following the Windermere 10K 3 weeks prior I'd put in hard weeks of 89 and 83 miles including several speed sessions and hill sessions, keen to make the last race of the year a good one. More to the point, the PRESTON 10 mile would inevitably attract more "young guns" than I had been facing in some of the longer events, coming from Cumbria , Yorkshire and of course all parts of Lancashire to race on the flat Preston course. I had started into my "ease down" period the week before the race, running just 44 miles including race day. So a cut of 50%. Perhaps I knew I would have to be well rested to take on one of my former St. Mary pupils, SCOTT DRY, racing for Bingley. Showing no respect for his elders and betters he ran away from me to finish 11th in 52.00. Clayton's ROGER BREWSTER (30) won in 49.06 and 25 years later is still on the scene. Last year he ran 61.56 on the tough Burnsall course. A great career. Preston's KEVIN HESKETH pipped me to the post by 4 seconds. He was part of a very successful Springfields A.C. team consisting of British Nuclear Fuels Work workers. Some works team! Kevin now 57 ran 62.45 in the Hexham 10 miler this year. So a slow down of just 10 minutes in 25 years. Far better than my slow down of 19 minutes!! VALLEY STRIDER teammates MIKE and STEVE O'CALLAGHAN made the trip from Leeds. A rare victory over his big brother for Mike. Mixed feelings after the run from my point of view. It was the first time I had been out of the first 15 in any race all year down at 22; but the time was actually the fastest for 1986 and better than any in 1985. Looking at the list now and checking out some of the names below me there is compensation. I spy FRANCIS DAY (East Cheshire) behind for one ; the M60 who has beaten me easily in all the Manchester Park races this year.
As is evident from the attached list, 54.27 was good enough for just 50th place. Last year, the event was won in 52.10 by Steve Litler (Wesham);the second runner ran 56.49. It will be interesting to see the times run when the 2011event takes place this Sunday.
It will also be interesting to note the number of over 40s. CYRIL LEIGH (M45) and P. MORRIS (M40) are the only vets in this first 50 list from 1986. Last year 27 over 40s featured in the first 50 at the event.
Whilst thousands of 20 and 30 years would appear to be making up the numbers in the "mass participation events" evidently they are not joining our running clubs and so making up the numbers in low key events with just a few hundred in. Obviously UK clubs must do more to sign then up; particularly clubs with no junior or track/ field sections or eventually it'll just be us diehards battling for the veterans prizes!