There was a time in the dark, distant past when virtually all races were on a Saturday. Picking out an Athletics weekly from 1967 9 races were advertised on the back cover, 8 were scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
The 9th advertised "track, walking and cycling events" at a Monday Bank Holiday Sports event. Then again, shops weren't open on Sundays in those days either.
Nowadays it's the nationwide traffic free parkrun 9 a.m. 5Ks which dominate the Saturday calendar plus, of course, many cross country events which uphold the Saturday racing tradition.
Saturday road races seem few and far between but they do prove very popular as they leave Sunday free. Traditionally free for a "long Sunday" with club mates. 90 to 120 minutes of "conversational" running; much banter about the previous day's race, "scalps" taken, praising improvement, excuses for bad runs.
Will many be up for that after yesterday's WESHAM 10K?
Certainly not me. Something shorter, something safer and of course I'll be running solo as usual.
Last Sunday's 13 miler took it's toll during the week and I had the choice between doing a track session or getting some speed back into the old legs with a race.
Didn't fancy my chances getting into the Salford Women only 5.25 K or paying £15 on the day for a Dash around Wythenshawe Park so I opted for yet another trek to the Fylde coast for my 148th 10K.
I must admit I wasn't expecting to get anywhere near the 43 minute mark the way I had felt in the week but I was hoping the adrenalin would kick in as usual once we'd got under way just after 11 a.m. (After we had clapped for a minute in recognition of REG CHAPMAN, a Wesham member who had sadly died recently.)
By this time the temperature had fortunately reached a tolerable 4 degrees; up from the zero when I had started out from home at 8.15.
Logistics prove easy at this event. There'a ample parking just a short walk from the start and finish point at the local school where the host club, WESHAM ROADRUNNERS, were set up for collection of numbers and late entries. They have a limit of 600; 461 finished.
But the quality was much better than the FCR Windmill 10K event. Perhaps club runners would prefer to support club hosted events rather than those put on by a commercial organisation even though the entry fee was much the same.
At the sharp end, STUART ROBINSON, ex-Blackpool, unfamiliar to some in the red strip of his new club Salford Harriers overcame the threat from Anthony Valentine of Bolton winning in 32:17. SARAH PARKINSON ran a solid 38:03 to lead home the ladies; 32nd overall.
From a personal point of view the race turned out better than expected.
I would like to think that I maintained a good even pace throughout. Certainly going through the field as usual from half way as the faster starters wilted.
But the mile markers (again no K markers!!) would suggest otherwise.
7.19 6.48 6.55. So far so good.
With Wesham ladies, Nicola Unsworth and Tara Fisher for company it's another solid mile ( 6.49) .....then amazing acceleration to 6.14 before drifting back to 7.41 for the 6th mile! A last mile which was flat and I was racing flat out shoulder to shoulder with several others including the ever present Stephen Perry (Lancaster).
The course does undulate slightly but not enough for the splits to be that inconsistent. Let's just conclude that the 5th mile marker was not quite correctly placed. Perhaps it should have been place at the one point on the route where the country lane was a foot under water!
So final time a pleasing 43.11, 117 of 461 compared to 45th of 553 in the Windmill; and once again I had to be content to finish runner up to the evergreen ALAN HUDSON (WESHAM) of the 18 in the M60 category for the fourth consecutive race.
The jury is still out on the race t-shirt.....as pictured above....a tech tee in the style of a football shirt. Different!? Let's just say it didn't exactly stretch the imagination of the graphic designer.