I should say for accuracy that the race did not take place in Salford but in Manchester's Heaton Park but was put on by Salford Harriers. They are not based in Salford either. Their base is in North Manchester! So there you go....
The club introduced a "new faster course" last night which took out the traditional uphill drag to the hall after the K and was essentially overall a downhill route.
The start in front of the famous Heaton Hall brought a severe shock to the system. (Un) familiarity then with the distance breeds contempt! But I was conscious of the calf strain I suffered last time out over this distance at the Moor Park 5K last November in Preston and was forced to limp around to record 23.32. Consequently having circuited the hall grounds twice before emerging on to the old course I was lagging on several I would normally expect to beat.
As used the adrenalin kicked in after the first K and I managed to pull a few back. Perhaps if the warm up had been better the adrenalin would have kicked from the start! but by the time we'd discovered where they were giving out the numbers, ran around with everyone else discovering that all the nearby public toilets were closed and prepared generally there was only 30 minutes to the off. Less time that it takes to awaken my aged bones and cardio system.
Last night without any real feedback from K markers and hence no eye to the watch it was simply a call for outright racing. Concentrating on those just ahead with an eye to those just overtaken to ensure they remained behind! To that end I think the race went well with no one overtaking from 1K. The time was of no concern until crossing the line.
As the video shows I was back in 60th position or so after the two circuits around the hall but managed to fight through to 52nd of the moderate field of 102. 4th in the age group and a clocking of 21.32. Solid but room for improvement I would say.
Switching the race to a Thursday night ,presumably to not clash with the Sunday parkrun and possibly attract some of their runners, saw the number rise to 102 from 85 last year and once the word gets around about the new faster "down hill" course I'm sure this will continue to rise.