Actually, this post has nothing to do with mountains, but I couldn’t resist that title after the last one!
Sunday, 28th October was the last day of the 5×50 Challenge, and I wanted to finish with a bang. Racing was the obvious way to do this, so I entered the Portishead Multi Terrain 10k. Portishead is just down the road from my ‘in-laws’, and we planned to go over as a family and have lunch at Cath’s Parents’ afterwards.
The race starts and finishes in the Lake Grounds in the town. Portishead is on the coast, but quite a way up the Severn Estuary, so there’s no question of being able get in the sea, which would involve crossing some horrible mud banks and negotiating dangerous currents! For that reason, Portishead has onshore watery attractions; the boating lake and an open air pool. It’s not really much of a resort now, but it would have been once.
I went off around the lake grounds for a warm up with our dog, Alfie before the race. The weather was breezy and damp, so it was good to be able keep my extra layers on until the last minute, then hand them over to my family just before the start.
There’s probably not that much I can say about the race itself. I headed out as quick as I dared, following the 3 leaders, all from the same club in Bristol, wearing red and white vests. I had 2 others with me, James Redman and Barry Bryant. Barry had beaten me over the line in the Swindon Parkrun the previous weekend!
I lead our group most of the time, pushing them hard on the off road bits. I guessed they would be faster finishers than me, so I knew I had to keep wearing them down before we got near the finish. Barry fell on a sharp, wet, tarmac corner, but seemed to recover well. The parts of the race on rooty singletrack were the most interesting. Some of the coarse took a windy route around the edges of grassy areas: obviously a means of getting the exact 10k distance.
On the last section of road before the finish, Barry pulled away, and it seemed obvious I wouldn’t be able to stay with him. Another runner, Jonathan Gilling appeared and also cruised past me. I just dug in. I could ‘feel’ James just behind, and kept up my pace as much as possible to hold him at bay. He got a sprint in at the end, however, and beat me over the line by a few inches! A real photo finish.
I came 7th overall and won the male vet 40 prize, with a time of 40:03. 3 seconds off 40 minutes! The 5×50 really did wonders for me: 3 prizes in 5 weeks!