Alsager 5

Today I went to the Alsager 5 (the 5 being the number of miles) road race. This was only my second race since deciding to return to the road. The course conditions were as near to perfect as you'll ever see - sunny, no breeze and cool (about 10 degrees). The course was as near to flat as possible over five miles - a couple of very gentle gradients that didn't really have any affect on leg speed, so overall the times here were going faster than usual.

At my first road race at Telford in December I really struggled with bad blistering under the arches of my feet and have had similar problems when at the gym. Last Friday I decided to experiment at the gym with some elastoplast over the affected areas which turned out to make no different whatsoever. Yesterday I went to Boots and bought some blister plasters which are similar to compeed (Sort of translucent sticky outer with the middle having a plastic/gel layer). They were pretty expensive at £3.50 for only 5 plasters (2 of which are too small for the arches of my feet!). I'm pleased to report that they did the trick and I felt no pain during the race (well no pain in my feet anyway...)

The start was very overcrowded and after 5 minutes the officials eventually decided not to bother getting everyone behind the start line about 10 metres further back. As we started I felt like I was getting stuck behind a number of slower runners even though I was relatively near the front. After the first corner about 400 metres into the race things began to settle down. I knew I was going too fast but felt that as it was a short race anyway I'd see how long I can hang on. Even so I was somewhat surprised to do the first mile in 5.24 which is far too quick. I then caught a few athletes in the next mile in a time of 5.45. At this stage I was already really beginning to feel it and did the next mile in 5.51. Between miles 3-4 I got overtaken by about 8 people, some of which I passed earlier. This was my slowest mile in a time of 6.00. For the final mile I had nothing left in the tank but knew if I could do less than 6 minutes I would finish in less than 29.00 so I made this my target even though I was knackered and was getting passed by a number of others. As I hit the home straight I had 30 secs to my target? No problem. 20 secs to the end - still ok. At 10 secs I realised I wasn't going to get in less than 29 mins so had to sprint it - I guess this was why my last mile was slightly quicker in 5.57.

To surmise my times were:
Overall 28.57

I don't know where I finished but then I'm not massively bothered either. Results will be posted to

When I finished for some reason I felt slightly disappointed as only now I realise how much stamina I have lost (see the degradation in times between miles 2-5 above), especially when others who ran the same time as me were overtaking me in the last 2 miles. I was far more tired on the course (and at the finish) than I should have been, so in the end it was all a bit of a struggle. At least I now know this is something I need to work on.

At the Telford 10k I finished in 38 mins which as a race I didn't really learn a lot other than setting a benchmark (I knew it was going to be hard and painful experience!). The time I finished today is just under 36 min pace, though in practice I would expect to tire further so in reality is around 36.15. Once I worked this out I'm now fairly satisfied with my run and shows the good progress I've made over the last six weeks. It looks likely than in the next few months I am still on to beat one of my 2007 targets to run sub 36mins for a 10k.

Only other thing to report was that I got a T-Shirt after finishing. Woo hoo!


  1. You certainly seem to be suffering (or is it trying extra hard!) in those photos. It's amazing the incentive of sprinting home against a girlie!

    I see you came 101st out of 970, nearly top 10%. Beaten by 9 of the ladies.

    When I was in my pre-Old Codger prime (around 1983!) I remember my target used to be Top 5% in the races with big fields, like Alsager, and to beat the first woman. So you've room for improvement!

    My best performances were my marathons, 37th and 52nd out of 1500 (top 3% and 4%) and not a woman in sight!

    A more current comparison, Mick Beardmore from Cheadle came 148th. He and I have been fairly evenly matched in the cross country for the last couple of years. (He is 50+). But that means you would have probably beaten me by 50 places too!

    Keep up the training.......

  2. Mick Beardmore came 190th in 31:16 - so its more like 2:15!

  3. I've just taken a look at the cross country results from last year - the only race we both did was the one at Stafford Common. He came 78th and I came 79th, 3 secs behind!

    Thats cheered me up a bit to find I beat him by 2:15 over a shorter distance!

  4. I picked up 148 from the team results which are presumably men only. There must have been 42 women ahead of Mick if he was 190th overall. So you would have beaten me by 100 places, not 50. Apologies!


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