Yesterday I travelled across the Peninnes to take part in a 5k race. The organiser, Andy O'Sullivan, donated £50 to Orchid when he heard about my Run To London and he has since been wanting to meet me at one of the many races he organises.
In the Rochdale and Littleborough area he has organised hundreds of races over the past 26 or 27 years. They mainly range from 5k to 10k but are often around local reservoirs or in other scenic places. They may not attract hundreds of runners - they are usually pretty basic (the race HQ is often a pub) - but the friendliness is always there.
Andy and I couldn't chat for long because, as race organiser, he was rather busy as you would expect. Before the race though ... at the start line in fact ... there was a rather nice surprise. He presented me with a boxed presentation salver. J ust like the picture but engraved with the words PRESENTED TO CHRIS CARVER FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO ATHLETICS.
Not sure what I've done to deserve that but I handed it back immediately [to look after until after the race].
The race in question was the Ken Taylor Cowm Reservoir Road & Trail Race. As the name suggests, Ken Taylor of Rossendale Harriers was also being honoured 'for his outstanding contribution and for being such an inspiration'. He is also having chemotherapy at the moment as he has cancer. Cowm Reservoir is about three miles north of Rochdale on the Bacup Road.
Anyway ... the race. Began with half a mile uphill then two laps of the reservoir then half a mile downhill. Simple really. The strong wind didn't help at all though and the narrow paths made overtaking difficult in places. Reached halfway in 10:10 feeling strong, out of breath and expecting to slow slightly. At the finish I couldn't believe the time - 19 minutes 15 seconds. That means I completed the second half in 9:05 (5:50 per mile). No idea about my position.
This time represents an Age Graded personal best of 17 minutes 28 seconds. Something I'm very pleased about as it came only two days after my previous race and not too long after the Run To London. Speedwork seems to be working OK then.
Updated the Personal Bests page too.