|The host club had some top runners out|
|Catherine approaches the finish|
Two of GRC’s athletes made the trip north to take part in the Locke Park races in Redcar, in this challenge both distances of ten and twenty miles take place on a tight twisty multi-lap course. The weather was the typical “four seasons in one day” variety with a stiff onshore breeze making a challenging headwind on the only two straights. Just before the ten o’clock start the timing mats failed to boot up leaving the runners literally out in the cold as the organisers frantically tried various ways to find a fix. After half an hour they gave up and asked the runners to warm-up for the second time as they positioned the spotter aerials on the line and steeled themselves for a long night of reviewing over two and a half thousand video images to verify the lap count and final times. The race finally started at 10:36 in bright sunshine but with the wind building up worryingly, it was forecast to reach gale-force at noon. Due to the nature of the course GPS watches do not measure the distance or pace with any degree of accuracy so runners have to rely on the lap count to try and gauge their speed. With the excitement of the start and the lack of external timing for the first couple of laps the pace was less controlled than usual with Catherine Payne going backwards through the field despite a 6:40 for mile two. Ignoring those round about him Robert McArdle made a steady start with the first six laps within seconds of his target pace of 7:30 before realising that he was going to be too ill to complete the race, aware that he had an option to record a ten mile time if he did not go past 11 miles and as he started to get slower over laps eight and nine he made up his mind to complete the ten but try and continue. Lap eleven shaped up to be heading close to 9½ minutes so he had to retire before doing even more damage. Meanwhile Catherine settled into laps in the mid 7:20s before the high mileage in the preceding weeks caught up with her as she had to work hard to stop the lap time creeping towards the eight minute mark. She was rewarded for this with a time of 2:30:10 which was a PB and good enough for her to be placed third lady. As the prizes for this race are awarded on age grading her 80.27% was not only good enough for fourth overall but beat her own club record for the distance set last year. Robert’s time for the 10 miler was given as 1:16:56 which was graded at 69.59% which was respectable given the circumstances and managed to win him one of the prizes. The goody bag was a pair of race socks, a medal and a Mars bar which is not bad for a chipped timed 20 miler costing £16.00.