Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Running Grand Prix.........good or bad?

It's not often that I abort a training run or session.  I must admit to having been extremely tempted as I arrived at the track last Thursday to do a rep session of 8 x600.  As I parked and turned  off the engine,  the rain swept across the deserted tartan track in front of me. With the prospect of a hard session in front of me and not even the reward of a nice hot shower in the adjacent changing rooms at the end of it,   it was a bleak prospect.   But I had driven 40 minutes to get there so, of course, I endured it and as the weather rapidly changed  from bad to slightly better to bad again the session was duly completed.
 Today I was looking forward to breaking up the day with a gentle 4 mile prior to tomorrow's SALFORD 5K in Heaton Park, Manchester.  Ever the pessimist I had donned tights and a Goretex jacket (typical April attire!) but I hadn't expected what was to come. Within minutes freezing, cold rain swept across the fields in torrents.  So much for global warming!!
Not so much as an April shower as an April deluge. After 2 miles I had just had enough.  I decided that another 20 minutes or so was probably going to do more harm than good and called it a day morning!
  Tomorrow the weather may be no better as we set off,  but set off we will. The MANCHESTER PARKS GRAND PRIX with its 5 races prepaid guarantees a great degree of commitment from tomorrow through until September.  Previously featuring a drag UP to Heaton hall, this year the measured course will START at the hall and snake DOWN to the tram station.  Easy, peasy!...hopefully.

 I'm not sure I would have been so keen if the Grand Prix had involved more races.  The PENDLE and BURNLEY Grand Prix takes in 15 races with 9 to count.  It encourages versatility with 5 road, 5 trail and 5 fell in the mix but "specialists" can choose to compete in say just 5 road races for which there is a separate category award.  It's well thought through and with the price of petrol nowadays may prove more popular than ever,  as obviously all the races are in a confined area.  Whether you are happy to compete against the same people up to 15 times over the summer is another matter.
At this time 25 years ago we were well into a new Grand Prix organised by Leeds Leisure Services in conjunction with Valley Striders and Skyrac A.C.  8 races made up the Grand Prix as I recall : races of various distances using Leisure centres around Leeds as the race venue.
 At 38 years of age there was no way I was going to be able to match the performances of 25 year old club mate, JOHN CONVERY. Only thought was whether he would commit to all 8 of the events. With a points structure giving 200 for first, 199 for second etc. one race missed would make for a massive loss of points.
 As expected John beat me by 42 seconds in the first event, the ROTHWELL 6.5 (33.50 TO 34.32) and scored a second win  to my 3rd 3 weeks later in KIPPAX.  400 points then to my 397.  But could he keep it up?  Could stay loyal to the series or stay loyal to races further afield I'd traditionally competed in?

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