Right, my latest race was in a town called Rivington…
This is a beautiful scenic route that starts from the Bowling Green, Rivington Village. It then heads out towards Anglezarke car park and follows Anglezarke Reservoir to White Coppice. It then follows the path to Wheelton Plantation, follows the plantation up through the woods and out at the top following the trail up and around back down into White Coppice. Once back to white Coppice you head back to Rivington.
This is a tough demanding course that will challenge everyone. One not to miss out on.
Where is Rivington? I hear you ask. Well, it’s about 30 minutes south of Preston near Manchester, Bolton, Blackburn (North West England). My wife’s family live in Lytham-St-Anne’s so it wasn’t a long drive to take whilst visiting family over the 2nd weekend in April. Rivington is beautiful; picturesque even; unbelievable views, sparkling reservoir water, flawless mountain trails, great signage, everything was good.
We arrived early, I collected my race bib and set about getting ready for the run – my first race experience in my new Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3s – they were wonderfully comfortable throughout. Nike race vest, H&M split shorts, Nike Compression shorts and Nike Trail Running hat which came in handy when out on the route because the sun was relentless and deceptively powerful.
The race briefing was, brief, and then we set off. My early game-plan was to hold back, and then try and pick people off on the return journey. I went off at what I thought was a relaxed pace and found myself in the front pack of 4 runners after the first km – my splits are here.
As you can see, the first mile (I have since switched my Strava from km to miles as I ramp up training for Holcombe Howler 42 in July) was almost one minute too fast. I should have been running reverse splits – 7:30s until the hill, power through the hill, and then run 7:00s/6:45s into the finish. I failed in two regards – firstly, I didn’t know the course elevation profile apart from what I had heard in mutterings and gossip around the sign-in tent, and secondly, I didn’t really have a solid idea of pacing until I was halfway through the race.
Yeah. That elevation profile ^ doesn’t even tell the whole story – because of my pacing failures, by the time I got to the steepest section of the course, my thighs were already flaking and my calves were a little stiff – not a good sign. I had to power-hike up the hill, and was passed by two or three runners on this section. I was passed again by another runner on the descent which, at least in my mind, was worse than the ascent – my hips, knees and ankles were not prepared for that steep, tractor-churned, descent.
As we came off the descent and met the first aid station, I settled into a steady pace and headed for home. I walked some of the remaining ups and tried my best to run the flats and downs but I had to wave one more runner past and then looked back to see empty trail – no need to panic – I held my pace and crossed the line feeling strong. 1:15ish, not bad for a first trail race
Shoutout to the front three – Josh, Charlie and Tony – who left me at the 3 mile mark and maintained their places throughout, good job boys! See you next year.