Friday, 10 June 2011
wincle trout run 5.6m 1000'
this popular race takes place as part of the annual Wincle Village Fair just off the Buxton - Macclesfield road. sponsored by a local fishery, the USP of this race is that all finishers receive a trout for their efforts!
as a young man partial to a bit of fish, this event fairly sprang out from the pages of the FRA calendar like a leaping salmon. having not raced since late May's Leaden Boot, this seemed like a good event to get back into the swing of things again.
the start of the race took me a little by surprise! as i was still stood with the Optimistic clan in the corner of the field when it commenced - no whistle or gun, just the commotion associated with 300 people starting to move at speed over the car park field meant i had to fight through the throng of supporters, well wishers and family members to cross the start line. at least it meant i got off to a quick start!
we ran round the car park field and through the fairground, down a steep descent and across a meadow to a river crossing and our first ascent.
i've learnt quickly this year that a fell race is something you've got to want to run - you can't just turn up and bimble along hoping to finish. as such the first mile or so, and the first climb or two make you wish you'd not started, but the lungs and legs soon reach their optimum levels of performance, allowing you to get on with the business in hand, and if you are lucky enough not to be dodging tree roots, bogs, other runners AND are not faced with driving rain or sleet, enjoy some wonderful scenery.
after a conversation with George Scott earlier in the week - a local legend in his own right and still going strong in the MV60 category after over 30 years of fellrunning - i made a note to follow his advice and not only keep up with the runner in front of me but also the runners in front of him, and ensure they stayed within reach. the logic behing this is that whilst the next runner may be helping you to keep running along, if the next runners after him/her are pulling away then you are slipping back down the field and may even find yourself being overtaken.
whilst i'm not overly competitive, i do believe in applying yourself fully to the task in hand, so i try and squeeze every last drop out whilst i'm running (does that sound corny?!). i overtook a few runners in the woods a couple of miles into the race as a result of this.
the first couple of miles or so progressed gradually uphill through the woodland, before we emerged onto a trail that ran along the ridgeline and brought us our first sight of home, still a mile or so (and more than a couple of ups and downs) away.
i'd managed to keep up a decent pace up to this point, but I took this opportunity to take a quick breather and get my heart rate down to something like normal.
we then ran across some moorland before turning left to descent to a farm trail, over a stile and into Wincle itself before turning right by the fishery to start the last series of ascents back to the fairground. i knew we couldn't have been far away now so pushed uphill at a jog over the crest of the hill and began to hear the announcer from the fair cheering the runners home. i could see that we had a couple of climbs still to make up to the fenceline above, so i cracked on and was soon making the final turn into the fairground. mrs theoptimisticrunner's cheers spurred a final burst from my tired legs and i ran into the final strait as strongly as i could.
with about 50 yards to go i became aware of another runner on my shoulder, so i gave a final kick to see him off - which he matched - so i pushed again, giving everything i had (the uphill finish added to the difficulty!) and managed to ease in just ahead of him, narrowly avoiding running into the runner in front in my frantic efforts to see off the other man!
i must confess i had a quick lie down (collapse?!?!) after crossing the finish line, still clutching my Free Trout Voucher, but after a welcome drink of water i was right as rain again.
next stops: Edale Country Day (perhaps), Kettleshulme (perhaps) and the National Three Peaks Challenge on the 18th-19th June (definately).
If anyone is feeling generous, you can sponsor us here - we are walking for Francis House Children's Hospice, a facility that provides respite care for terminally ill children.
the optimistic runner