A well organised two-lap race round the edge of Lloyd Park and surrounding roads in East Croydon, with 4 club runners taking part.
With the club’s gantry and clock in use (and again adding their contribution to club funds), our original entry of 1 swelled to form a full men’s team and one lady. The race started early, at 9.15, in bright sunshine. Croydon Harriers and Striders had collaborated to put on the race, but had also allowed their runners to enter, which rivalry perhaps led to some kidology amongst the front runners – no one wanted to show their hand by standing in the sub 1:29 area. The start area was wide in closed-off roads making for a smooth start to the race, shown by the fact that no one had more than 20 or so seconds gap between their chip and gun times.
The course itself was fairly tough, with the uphill sections starting early and never really letting go. 5 of the first 7 set their pbs here, though, so it must suit some. The uphill final 500m to the finish isn’t the hardest, but it plays on your mind as you go past that point twice before finally finishing the thing. The undulating nature made for much more “I pass you, then you pass me” than I’ve seen before in road races, and I’m grateful to the Phoenix runner who came beside me for a five minute chat to gee me up at a tough point. Little did he know that, as he was over 60, he had finally provided me with some racing motivation and I pulled away from him, though I was beaten to the finish by an older dad who was impeccably paced (and motivated) by his son. The race instructions point out that it crosses tram lines, and that if the lights are red you must stop. Only Joe was affected, and his experience suggests that it only costs 15-20 seconds or so, so long as it doesn’t completely break your rhythm.
Neil and Ann both ran well, and took heart for their marathons to come. Good luck to you both, and thanks to Binkie once again for good support.