Thursday June 13th.
It stopped raining in Wilmslow around 4pm, but was forecast to return in the evening. The Roaches was also dry but noticeably colder. Mike Hill mentioned the downpour at the end of the race last year. For some of us it came two-thirds through, Sharon and I squelching, with cow diarrhoea splashing up to our thighs. Sharon had warmed-up, but wisdom prevailed and she decided not to risk her knee. With her, limping heavily, Elspeth had already booked-herself into Dr. Fenton's injury corner in next month's newsletter, her ankle ligaments meaning a minimum six-week layoff. The sky darkened as the start approached, it seemed a matter of when, not if, the rain would hit us. The top is potentially dangerous in the dry, we've had serious injuries in the past, but absolutely treacherous in the wet, hopefully it would hold-off until we were on the road.
The challenge of Roaches is its variety:-
- steady uphill on the road
- steep uphill amongst the rocks
- the top where you need to concentrate with every stride where and how you place your foot
- uphill on the road
- downhill on the road
- stone track
- narrows into an uneven muddy footpath
- the cow field
- and a finishing undulating three-quarters of a mile of stone track
What makes it one of the most interesting races on the calendar is that the different sectors advantage and disadvantage different runners. It was unusual coming off the mountain (does a trig point mean it's a mountain?) to be just behind Janine. Unusual but not surprising, at the same stage last year I was ahead of her. O.K., one shake of the pony-tail, and she was off up the road never to be seen again but its good whilst it lasts. In my heyday, I picked half-a-dozen, more maybe,Wilmslow places on the top, this year I had to be content with three; Carolyn, Don and Angie and they defined my race.
Jim came 8th., Graham was 3rd. M45 and 14th. just 5 second ahead of Allan , who playing in the more interesting terrain whilst Di was away doing the short, flat stuff at Durham. Mike was 21st. I was pleased in my absence to see that not only the quality of race reporting improved, but also the quantity. I can do scant justice to what happens at the front and middle of the field and its good to see Andy continuing to give us a fuller picture with his view from the middle.
Aron was second to Allan in Division 2, Jarrod third. Tony won the M65 category and Andy the M60.
Andy, as you may have gleaned from elsewhere scored his second 60-point triumph of the season. He was followed by Chris,who also loves the bit over the top, 3rd.M55, and Janine, 2nd. F40 and our first girl despite this, for her, being hostile territory. Nicky won the F50 category with Angie 3rd.
Custom is that Angela overtakes me uphill and I get her going down. Reaching the crest on the road still ahead, I felt that I'd be safe until the track to the finish, only for her to come storming past down the road. She pushed-on fearing I'd come back and whilst I never seriously challenged, I never gave up, so I was dismayed with 100m to go to find Carolyn on my shoulder but, as you do, I found I hadn't quite been giving everything.
Carolyn took the Division 4 60-points. Don was second, only a few years ago he was up with the front of Division 2 at Roaches, but in terms of the last two years this was another good hill race. Judith was 1st. F55.
I'm normally clean over the top but once I stumbled badly and then I went half-over on my weak left ankle. In the final mile my left knee began to hurt and after the finish I feared cartilage. I was a pioneer of key-hole surgery in an NHS sports clinic in North London in 1979, is 15 years of lacrosse and 35,000 miles running coming to an end? I hope not, I need the points at Buxton Hilly.
Behind Janine, Nicky was 2nd. Wilmslow lady, Angela 3rd. and Carolyn 4th.
Martin was a hero encouraging us all over the peak.
And not a drop of rain.