After the Rugby 6 miles event, Yasmin Inglis was keen to run more events in the series, eight in total. Living and training in Market Harborough, this was one event not to miss and was joined by Phillippa Bennett, running her first event for VRUK and Peter Simpson. Unfortunately the other member of the local trio, Heather was in Norway for the Midnight Sun Marathon.
The event use to be held close to the entrance to Gartree Prison with the venue on some waste land that had to be cleared of a metre or so of grass. The venue has since was moved further away to a more attractive country park location otherwise the course was similar but in reverse.
The weather was threatening rain before the start but it cleared and with no wind, conditions were perfect. As usual for the series, the field was almost entirely of club runners wearing their club vests, with members of each club meeting up prior to the start. Yasmin, Phillippa & myself met-up and we went for a warm-up around the off-road track, part of the course and briefly onto the road. For Phillippa the Harborough 5 miles was her first event and will need to run a lot further in training for the Leicester Marathon on 13 October.
There were over 300 in the line-up and going round the temporary off-road track was rather disorientating plus the uneven surface. It was a relief to get onto the road but there was one other issue, the higher road camber so it was preferable to attempt to take the middle lane. I appeared to be going well for the first mile of so although it was predominantly a gentle climb followed by a sharp downhill section. I seemed to take off here but suddenly as the route levelled out I felt a sprain above the left ankle and immediately came to a halt. Many other runners enquired to my wellbeing and saw Yasmin and Phillippa pass. Walking slowly back I was given the option of a lift by the sweeper vehicle and accepted it but I did not realise how long I would be inside the vehicle. It would have been faster walking back to the finish except that I may not help the injury.
Fortunately it was only a 5-mile event taking the last runner less than an hour but interesting to see the heavy weight runner I’ve previously seen go about completing the course, looking fairly comfortable running most of the course on the left side of the camber with a colleague. Effectively I was the last runner to arrive back and unfortunately could not see Yasmin or Phillippa although still many other runners around. The next day I looked at the results and Yasmin & Phillippa finished quite close with Yasmin overtaking Phillippa around 4 miles. Yasmin finished in 43.25 and Phillippa 43.35. Phillippa felt she ran too fast early in the race especially down that hill after mile 1 and paid for it climbing up to mile 4.
My exercise that evening turned out to be on the bike with the relatively short ride back to Market Harborough station and later a 20 miles cycle home from Bedford to Milton Keynes as I had missed the last train. Luckily it was a calm and dry night for the 2 hours journey on the bike. The injury was little affected by the bike ride.
Yasmin & Phillippa are looking forward to the next round of the GP series, the Weedon 10k on 25 June in Northamptonshire where the course is quite hilly but finishes in the runner’s favour.