A team of RntS took part in the Run Sandringham events on Sunday. Taking part in the 5km and Half Marathon distances.
Kirsty Lack has provided me with a race report:-
Alex Mason took part in the Tattenhall Tough Team event recently
Report by Alex Mason:-
A 9 mile multi-terrain event for teams of three hosted by Tattenhall Runners.
The race is a lollipop shaped route with 3 miles out and back along the road with 3 miles in the middle featuring ‘the railway’, a climb of 100m averaging 66%.
I’ve done this event four times before and recruited a new team of two other runners – Frank who is really strong on the trails and fells and Tony who is a strong road runner and about the same time as me at Parkrun. Both in their early 30s so at 46 I was expecting to be hanging off the back. With this race it’s key to have people who have similar yet different strengths to each other.
There were 69 teams entered and looking at the start list there were some really strong teams, I thought we’d finish somewhere in the top 10 if all went well.
We got to the start and registered. I laid the plan down with my team – start the 3 mile road section (which kicks uphill towards the end) at 10K pace which is 4 min/k and Tony would dictate. Frank would then take over on the trails and then we’d work together on the road back to the finish.
The key thing was communication. If the pace was too fast or too slow, we need to let each other know and adjust accordingly. If someone is hanging off the back then the other two keep with them and muster them along. I said that the race only really starts once you hit the top of the railway so anything before that, don’t worry about.
We got to the start and then off. Tony paced us along really well, we kept around the 4 min/k mark whilst a lot of other teams shot off. This is where the road runners leg it and leave everyone else behind. I was comfortable with this and I told my team that when we hit the trails they will fall to pieces.
We started to hit the climbs on the road and I was falling off the back, the pace wasn’t hard hard, just hard and I told them to keep it up and they dragged me along.
Soon enough we hit the trails, a short climb, a switch back and then I started dropping off again. We got to the top and through the single track I managed to re-group. We then descended down to the railway where it looked like we were gaining on the team in front. We then hit the famous railway.
Frank had never done it before, Tony had the week before and I’ve done it 440 times so knew it pretty well. We passed two teams going up it and I helped encourage Tony along who now looked to be struggling.
We got to the top and got running straight away, you can lose a lot of time beasting yourself up the railway and have your legs full of lactic and lungs popping out of your chest.
We got to the water station and then the grassy downhills which were ace. Frank was loving it!
Occasionally I’d look behind and I could see the guys we passed on the railway closing so I urged the team on.
We exited the trails and got back on the road to the finish. It’s a horrible 5k. You just have to hold on and get to the finish.
I was feeling really strong and my ultra running kicked in so I set the pace whilst Tony and Frank were now behind me and I slowed slightly for them to keep on me. I thought we were about 7th team based on people in front and the one’s we’d passed however I never let us ease off and we ran strong.
Then Chris (from Buckley) came from behind which I was surprised with as he’s a really strong runner and I knew his team were in front. He informed us that three teams had taken a wrong turn and we were in fact in third place. That was incredible news as I thought we were out of contention.
That really spurred us on, unfortunately they were too strong and passed up. Tony was really struggling now and I tried to keep him on the pace. I could see another team behind us, maybe 100m who we had passed on the railway with about 2k to go. I felt really strong and shouted words of encouragement to both Frank and Tony.
In the end we pulled through and finished 4th overall (64 starting teams) and 1st Male Team (the 1st three get cat wins and then there are prizes for male, female, mixed, V40,…).
I was so made up that despite on paper we were not the strongest team, we stuck to the plan, worked together, never gave up and prevailed to give our respective wives a bottle of Prosecco from the winnings.