Sunday, 18 March 2012

Nice Tri 18 Pre London Test

I had hoped to race the Ashby 20 today but the race filled up quicker than I could enter and despite my 'speculative' entry after the closing date, it was returned not accepted.
Off from Offord

I was grateful for a running friend suggesting the Nice tri 18 as a suitable alternative. I hadn't heard of this race before but with the start only 60ish miles South along the A1 it was a welcome long substitute which would provide more quality race miles ahead of the London Marathon. We left a slightly rainy Grantham just after 8am and arrived in the village of Offord about an hour later. Offord is a quaint village surrounded by lakes, canals and public footpaths. An interesting area that i hope to explore again soon. It seems the folk at 'Nice Tri' make the most of a beautiful area by hosting a number of events locally, throughout the year.

I met Arthur Short and Phil Hall in the car park, the two other representatives of Grantham AC. Race registration was in the village hall some five minutes walk away from the start. The race hooter sounded at 10am and 118 runners were released to run two laps of nine miles. There was also a single lap race of nine miles for more sensible people.
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Arthur Short - Grantham AC
I went off pretty fast not considering that those I was trying to keep up with might have been running the nine mile race. I felt strong through the first lap with the only problem being my failed attempt to grab some water from a volunteer at mile 5 which ended in the volunteer taking an unwelcome shower. The compatriot with whom I had been racing offered my some of his bottled drink, I was grateful for his kind gesture but I politely declined. 

At the end of the first lap you pass by the finish which is a bit demoralising, especially when some of those around you head off down the funnel to complete their nine mile race. Soon however, I was back on a now familiar course and negotiating the biggest hill in the race, this time for the second time at mile 12. At the top of the hill the route turns left and thereafter follows a long, straight, invigorating section along a plateau through to mile 15ish. I was able to push through the final 3 miles with good speed and I was surprised to be able to begin to catch up with club mate Arthur Short whom I could see a long way in the distance. In fairness I think Arthur's pace had slowed as opposed to my pace increasing. In the last mile I passed and we exchanged words of encouragement. I was able to gazump another racer just before the funnel and finished 12th in 2:03:17. Arthur came back seconds later in 14th place  and a time of 2:03:38. Phil Hall had his own race before the start, ran out of time and joined the race late but was still able to run the 18 mile route in 2:30:55 and 46th place. Full results here.
Phil Hall - Grantham AC
The 'nice tri 18' cost £15 to enter and £20 on the day. Finishers received a medal, orange segments and a banana. The course is run across a fairly fast, if undulating route and there is a more severe undulation at 3ish and 12ish miles. Post race we retired back to the Anchor Inn at Little Paxton. We had visited this excellent hostelry after the Milton Keynes half Marathon when I remarked how it was a shame that it would probably be a long time before we would be in that part of the country again, what do I know?!...  


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