Just down the road from my house? It would be silly not to race! A really enjoyable course made up of 2 laps that both included a nice steep hill to get the thighs burning on a Wednesday night. My time: 21m 12s and I came in 17th place. Damn happy! Not just by my time but by how well I felt running…
For starters, this course is only 15 minutes run from my house, so there really was no decision to make for me. It was a perfect way to spend a Wednesday evening. Not only that but it goes along the part of the Tame Valley trail that runs behind the estates I used to live on growing up so there was a good warm feeling of nostalgia about the whole occasion. Only this time I am not the mischevious teenager I was previously around the area! haha
It begins near the entrance on Dunkirk Lane, Dukinfield, just off Dukinfield Road a few hundred yards before the Village Hotel. The course is made up of 2 loops, going uphill towards the Tame Valley entrance on St. Anne’s Road, Denton, and then coming back down past the start and over the football pitches just off Hyde Road.
Despite this only being a 2.5km route, it feels nice and varied. You are on the river paths for the most part which has a mixture of hard ground, combined with muddy and stony surrounds. I love this because it means that you are running on tough ground one minute and softer the next. Nothing I like more than good variety in the surface.
As well as this you have the football pitch area which adds something extra to the surface variety again, although it can take it out of your legs a little bit as you run through this slightly heavy, overgrown grass after your big downhill drop on both laps.
The conditions on the day looked pretty poor. I had sat at work watching snow fall on a day that is supposed to be the end of April! A classic day of every weather under the sun. As the race loomed, the hail and snow again fell as everyone waited to begin, trying to keep themselves warmed up. And then, as if meant to be, just 5 minutes before the starting whistle, the weather subsided perfectly and stayed clear until about 15 minutes after the race ended.
I was running in my Adidas trail shoes which was the perfect choice in my opinion. The weather had slightly softened the hard track and the grass areas were also doing fairly well to stay firm enough despite the poor weather that the week had hit it with.
As advised, by Tony from Hyde Sweatshop, who had ran this race before, I kept my first lap steady. Not too hard up the first big hill, although I must admit, I always use hills as an opportunity to overtake as I seem to have the right build in my legs to tackle hills fairly well. Then as lap 2 kicked in, I started taking in the people around me. This is when my ‘don’t let anyone past me’ brain kicks in. That combined with ‘who can I still finish ahead of?’. If you race, you know this feeling well. You get involved in a mini race within your race, and you would do anything to win it! I am no exception to this rule.
I pushed on strong, especially for the last 1.25kms. I made a move on a few runners around this point and I made sure that any deep breaths I had been hearing in my ears from behind me, stayed there until the end!
I would recommend this race to anyone. It was a good atmosphere, a nice turnout and a really good varied course for a 5km race.
Stride Through The Woods…..I will be back next year! Hopefully to finish in the top 10 this time!
Next up….The Cake Race on Saturday! 10 Miles of trail goodness before cake!