Sunday, 11 December 2011

Stockport 10

I once asked a friend how another friend's marathon training was going. "He's doing really well", I was told "He's running through his hangovers and everything". If running through a hangover is a good measure of performance I'm pleased to say after the Stockport 10 I'm performing well. If the race time is the indicator 1 hour 12 minutes is disappointing. That'll teach me not to go to a Shakin Stevens gig followed by the pub before race day. For the record Shaky's still got it (although his voice failed in the second half of the show and after gargling mouthwash he could only stagger to the end of his set) he is 63 now though.
200ish m to go

And so it was back to my home town for the Stockport 10. The race which runs from Woodbank Park has built its reputation on the strength and secrecy of its goody bag this year, in addition to a quality long sleeved technical top the bag included, some salt and pepper pots, lollipops, a note pad, two pens, a £5 voucher for sweat shop, some lo salt, moisturiser and best of all, some soap on a rope with the title "Stockport stench remover".
The contents of 'that goody bag'

The race is very good value, attracts many quality runners and even has a celebrity starter, Tony Audenshaw (Bob Hope, Emmerdale) who also doubled as the race commentator, dressed in a sheepskin coat and round glasses he played the part of John 'Motty' Motson convincingly. Tony is also a top runner an accomlished London Marathoner and even a few Bullock Smithy's to his name.  The race started at 10am and passed through residential streets in Offerton before heading down a country track towards Brookside Garden Centre. The first water station was just before mile five. The race organisers had put the tables out at 9am including a couple of water carriers. By 9.30am they had been stolen! A witness had apparently seen a couple of men in a van pull up and take the provisions shortly after they had been laid out. By the time I passed the organisers had thankfully managed to get some reserve water to the track and I was grateful, possibly dehydrated after too much swinging to Shaky the previous Friday night. The first and worst hill comes at mile five as runners climb Otterspool turning left just before the Spread Eagle public house. The hill continues through a housing estate before runners race on towards Harrytown. I just got into a rhythm and carried on putting one foot in front of the other. It was good to be back running amongst recognisable faces from the South Manchester scene and is was good to take in local sites. I had last run the Stockport 10 in 2002 finishing in 1 hour 05 minutes.  It was surprising how my memory of the route had lapsed.
£1.50 each - bargain!

There is another nasty hill which at mile 9 arrives at a time when you least need it but I managed to keep a good pace to the top and into Woodbank Park. A final mile through the park and runners enter the track for the final 200 metres to the finish. I was glad to finish today, it was raining and cold and I'd had enough.

I took a hot shower at the finish before retiring to a busy club house for a plate of hot pot. At £1.50 a plate I had to take advantage, in fact I bought two plates, saved twice my money and treated my partner in the process. It was good to eat with a couple of friends from Macclesfield Harriers one of whom had taken the Macclesfield V65 record finishing in 1hour 08 minutes. The winner Matt Barnes of Altrincham AC came home in 50 minutes 55 an amazing time over a hilly course in wet conditions. The Stockport 10 is a great race in my opinion. A good race with a festive feel, great food at the finish, hot showers and of course that good value goody bag. I'm not running with a hangover again though, a measure of good performance or not!



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