Race number 295

Tour of Tameside 2003 - Running Diary

Full results are available on the Race Results website - scroll down to July and they are listed by date.

Scroll down for daily race reports or use the links below


Saturday 19 July

Picked up my race pack from the local running shop. I wasn't on their list for some reason but they gave me a pack anyway!

My race number is 295. Included in the pack are details of each route and I am pleased to see that Tuesday's race follows one of my regular training runs - the one where I twisted my ankle!!!

Sunday 20 July, 11:00 - Stage 1, 11 multi-terrain miles

Wake up - the weather is warm with broken cloud and I am dead excited. Quick breakfast (a bit later than I had planned) and then off to the start with about 300 other loonies.

And they're off! First two miles are uphill (quite steep in places) and I seem to be overtaking lots of people. I'm thinking "what do they know that I don't? Am I going too fast?"

Just at the top of the hill I get a stitch due to my late breakfast and have to try hard to slow myself down on the downhill run to rest a little - lots of people overtake me!

The race takes us through woods, along the Peak Forest canal, some roads and a few farm tracks. After ten miles of very pleasant and scenic running we enter Woodbank Park in Stockport. A steep hill climbing 30m up to the top of the park was a bit grim but the remaining three quarters of a mile were flat and ended with a lap of a running track.

I was shattered after 1 hour, 37 minutes of hard running but pleased to survive and to see there were plenty of runners coming in after me! For Sunday lunch the organisers were handing out chocolate flavoured Powerbars - not very appetising!

Near the finish of stage 2

Result - 233 out of 288 finishers

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Monday 21 July, 19:30 - Stage 2, 7 road miles

Potato and leek soup with garlic bread for tea - chemical weapon to get the runners in front of me to let me through. Weather much cooler and showery but clearing before the race.

Fan club takes me down to the start and off we go again. First mile and a half hard going with my chemical weapon back firing! Made an effort to keep with people who were going at a similar pace.

As I felt better and the chemical emissions subsided I began to creep up the field. Yesterday I caught people on the uphills and they passed me on the downhill and flat so today I was determined to keep the advantage gained on the hills. It worked and I even overtook people on the downhill and the flat.

Another thoroughly enjoyable race and not as tiring as yesterday. Very pleased with my time of 51 minutes and 24 seconds which is a person best. I came in position 161 out of 290 finishers which is rather better than yesterday.

Roll on tomorrow's hill race on my home ground - the first 4 miles are uphill!

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Finish of stage 3

Tuesday 22 July, 19:30 - Stage 3, 6 mile hill race

Today I got the nutrition much better. A sizeable lunch at my cousin's in Bramhall and a sausage sandwich at 17:00 set me in good stead.

It was great to be on home ground but I was a bit disappointed with how many people overtook me on my favourite hill. The going was quite tough and there were a few stiles to cross which caused a traffic jam or two.

The route took a variation which I have not run as a whole but I was familiar with all the parts. I overtook some people on the descent but took it easy behind a careful runner on the worst part - just the part I turned my ankle on a few weeks ago.

After the tricky part it was a good bridleway and farm track all the way to the finish so I took advantage of the rest I had coming down and pushed myself to the line.

Six hilly cross-country miles in 53 minutes and 16 seconds - position 174 out of 292. Surprisingly my arms are aching as much as my legs - thankfully no race tomorrow so I can have a beer or two now!

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Thursday 24 July, 19:30 - Stage 4, Longdendale half-marathon

This evening saw excellent cool weather with a spot of rain to keep us from overheating. The run took us past four very pleasant reservoirs and along a wooded track. The last eight miles were along a fairly flat disused railway line which has been converted to a cycle / walking trail.

I was a little slow for the first 4 miles but then I got into the swing of it. On the railway track I upped the pace and latched onto a runner who was slowly moving up the field.

At the seven mile mark the run turned back on itself so I got to see the front runners at last and was tempted to turn round and follow them! After the turn the chap I was chasing moved up a gear but I managed to stick with him until ten miles where he slowly pulled away.

I was very pleased when I saw a signpost at the side of the track saying one mile to Hadfield - only a mile and a half to the finish and part of that was downhill. For the last two miles I could hear a runner not far behind me and had to dig deep to keep them there until the final turn in towards the finish. I knew if I could get to the turn first I would probably beat them to the line - not that I get competitive! I just managed it and crossed the line a few paces in front of them, shattered. Another personal best of 1 hour, 35 minutes and 27 seconds in position 162 out of 278.

In preparation for Friday's six mile cross country race it has been raining steadily so I guess I'm going to get muddy tonight.

Finish of stage 5

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Friday 25 July, 19:30 - Stage 5, Broadoak cross-country

Steady rain for most of the day cleared a few hours before the race started. The course took us round a few playing fields and up and down a couple of steep banks. We had to complete 3 laps which were reputed to be two miles each but, judging by the times, it was a bit shorter than six miles in total.

The pace was a bit fast for my liking and my legs were complaining about yesterday's abuse. I played cat and mouse with a few runners but most just seemed to pass me and keep going.

Despite the cheering of my supporters club I was beaten to the line by number 88 coming up fast from behind. He shot past me just on the line and I thought "where on Earth did he come from?"

Time 32 minutes and 29 seconds - position 145 out of 274. Over the whole tour I am now in position 141 out of 198 men and 10 ladies are in front of me.

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Passing Tesco Stalybridge

Saturday 26 July, 14:00 - Stage 6, Mossley to Hyde canal race

A fast start down the hilly roads in Mossley took us to the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The towpath is pretty narrow too in most places. Fortunately I have run up and down this and the Peak Forest Canal many times so I know the route well.

My fan club were waiting to cheer me from the bridge as I passed Tesco in Stalybridge. Even a stranger joined Robert shouting "come on dad!" which was mildly confusing.

My legs were still aching from the fun and games earlier in the week so I was not running quite as fast as I have. I saw a group of runners ahead of me as we passed ASDA in Ashton (looks like a supermarket race) and thought it would be good to catch them. As we joined the Peak Forest Canal the terrain improved and I slowly began to close the distance to them. Two miles later I finally managed to pass them and headed out on my own with infrequent glimpses of the next group.

Finnaly we left the canal at Hyde and headed for ASDA's car park - see what I mean about supermarkets! I could hear people cheering on a lady running just behind me so I put some extra effort in knowing the finish was not far way. She must have had a similar plan as she chased me hard to the line and I only just managed to beat her.

Time 1 hour 7 minutes and 15 seconds - position 159 out of 289. Over the whole tour I came in position 135 out of 195 men and 10 ladies were in front of me. My total time for all six races was 6 hours 36 minutes and 48 seconds.

Full results for the tour are available on the Race Results website

I have enjoyed the tour as a whole but would not say I enjoyed every one of the 52 miles. Frankly if was pretty hard work to keep going sometimes but at other times I almost felt like I was flying - probably endorphin induced hallucination!

Thank you for all the interest, support and money! That's all folks - until next year!

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The final finish line

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