Wenlock Olympics 7 Mile Road Race

My urinary problems have continued but other than constantly needing the loo and some mild discomfort in my side I'm otherwise ok to run.  It was therefore a bit of a last minute decision to race the Wenlock Olympian 7.  Its a race that has sort of been on my radar for some time; I did once compete on the track at the Wenlock Olympics in my junior days and remember dad decided to enter the road race.  To be honest I can't remember much about it as it was probably 1991/92, other than neither of us won!  Some 28 years or so later I was back again to have another go!

Slotting into 3rd about 1 min in.

The race is only approximately 7 miles in length and to be honest I couldn't find out too much about the course other than the first half is very undulating, whilst the second half is mostly downhill back to the finish.  At the start we ran around a field before exiting along a path and reaching the road.  I was well positioned at the back of the leading group of three and I sensed that I was in for a race.  One of the leaders was puffing a bit as we went through the first km and he started to drop back, but then suddenly out of nowhere another runner came flying past in a Wolves & Bilston top as we went sharply downhill.  As we were now in the race 'proper' I assumed he was a really top end athlete but I tagged along for the free ride.  As we exited the main road the first uphill was ahead of us and boy was it a sharp climb.  The issue was that as it was along a windy country lane you couldn't see far ahead so I had no idea how long the climb was for or the gradient ahead.  I decided to just do my own thing and ignore the other runner - too much effort at this stage of the race would put me in the red zone later on.  None the less I dropped the runner behind me almost straight away and I was on my own.

At the end of the second km I had a quick look back and I reckon I had pulled out a lead of about 12 seconds.  More hills came and where there wasn't any significant climbs there were plenty of sharp up and down undulations.  My lead was clearly growing and from about 4km I pretty much couldn't see anyone behind me.  At this stage I never felt like it was a race winning margin due to my lack of descending ability so it was important to keep my pace up.

The middle to latter parts of the race was very difficult to pace - not knowing what was ahead of me and the accumulated lactic from the previous hills made it difficult to put more than 95% effort in.  If I ever went 100% going into another sharp hill then I could easily have blown up.  The final few km were clearly downhill and with about 4km left I knew the race was won.  Whilst it was far more down than up, there were still numerous small inclines to content with so it was never quite as free flowing as it should have felt.  My pacing was all over the place, I think that with a couple of km to go I did a 3.08km, but conversely my earlier km with fresher legs were in the 3.20 - 3.30 range.

Coming into the finish.

Finish.

It was then just a case of getting to the finish in a time of 37.15 at an average 3.19m/km and winning by a margin of about 2 minutes to 2nd and a further minute to 3rd.  Considering the course, I was pretty pleased with my time and whilst tired still had a bit more in the tank had I needed it.  I believe I was only about 40 seconds off the course record and had I needed to I could have been much closer.

Winner!

Trophy.

For my efforts I won a trophy that I get to keep for a year, a gift card plus best of all I can call myself and Olympic Champion (at least in my mind anyway!).

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