Summer Turkey Trot 2008

Summer, ha ha ha ha ha! Well OK, it had stopped raining for the race, but what a day! About 2 inches of rain and wind to go with it. No kids fun run this year. Pity, but still, they let 14 year old boys and 15 year old girls run in it. Aaron Jose who runs for MBH is 14 and did a fantastic time for a 14 year old of 26.10 – well done Aaron. His sister Lotte who is only 12 will be a force in the future that’s for sure. As for the oldies… Well, not bad really. Overall for MBH, Neil Eddy (who isn’t old) finished first, and in 16th position overall. Nigel Sims (who is old, but not as old as me) finished second, in 29th position overall and was also 3rd in the over 45 age category, and then me (very old) in 34th position overall and 1st in the over 55 age category.

It’s only 4 miles. Only! It’s so easily said that this race is a sprint. Well, OK, compared to a half marathon etc. it is. But taken on its own merits you still feel as 2 or 3 miles that you want to throw in the towel and don’t feel that you can possibly finish the course at the pace you are doing. Hats off to Mark Omori who ran with  his big toenails ripped off, blistered and bleeding from the Launceston Half only a few days before and still managed a creditable time of 26.14. As for me – Well, I wanted to prove to myself, and others that my Cubert result wasn’t a flash in the pan. Sticker was a disaster, managing only a mile before a muscle in the top of my leg gave up and I had to walk back. So here was my chance again. Only 4 miles and my sort of distance, but I was up against it. I had a week long lay off after Sticker and then 10 days of only semi-serious training. I really didn’t  want to damage it prior to this one. If I pulled up here, then my GP aspirations would be over for this season. Fortunately everything went well. My two closest rivals Alan Cooper (Truro) and Bob Richards (Hayle)were both running, so it wasn’t going to be easy. There are only seconds between the three of us and it can go any way.

I stood on the second row of the grid with only Sam (Elvis) in front of me. What’s he doing there? I thought. At least he enjoys his sprint starts. I had a look around for my rivals. Oh yes, they were in close proximity. I winked at Alan Cooper and “bang!” caught me unawares. People ran into me as I was slow to respond. I knew I had to blast this first mile. It’s mainly downhill and a sub 5:30 would be on the cards. I’ve no idea if I achieved that as I never saw the first mile marker… come to think of it, I didn’t see the third mile marker – were they there? But I seem to remember passing through the 2 mile marker in around 12 mins so that was good. I was aiming to get as close to 6 min miling as I could. In the end I averaged 6.10/mile pace but good enough to win my age category.

Nigel Sims eased by me around 2 miles and I could still see Neil Eddy in the distance. I kept within about 10 metres of Nigel for most of the remaining 2 miles so I knew I wasnt slowing down too much, even if it felt I was. Still worried about my age cat rivals, I didn’t dare look behind until near the end. I didn’t want to become demoralised if they were only inches from me. Had a glance back 2-300 metres before the finish. No blue vest in sight (Truro), so that was good but…. I could see a green vest!? (Hayle) not so good! Possibly 2 of them – was one Bob Richards? 100 metres left and a green vest came up on my shoulder. Quick glance, phew! not my rival, he can carry on as far as i’m concerned. I ease off, with only 75 metres left. Why bust a gut to try and beat Nigel. I’ve got it in the bag for my age cat, and that’s the most important thing. Another quick glance back – Jesus Christ! I think it’s another green vest almost upon me! I sprint madly, frantic that I was going to lose my position over the last few metres. Fortunately I didn’t, and as it happens it wasn’t Bob Richards, so I needn’t have panicked.

24.41. Not bad. Another PB and first time i’ve beaten 25 mins. I’d inwardly been hoping I could actually beat the 24 min barrier but after the injury problem that was obviously a bridge too far. So, next up – the Magnificent 7. Oh God! 7 miles of hell as far as i’m concerned. Hilly isn’t the word. This longer distance will test me for sure. So, for the record – significant improvements in times since last years Summer race. Well me – 30 secs. Mark Omori – over 2 mins faster. Clive Hibbert – nearly 2 mins faster, but the biggest overall improvement is Chris Trewhella: last year 35.46, this year 32.25! No doubt, had Nancy Hill run she would have been amongst the improvers and probably the awards. Nice to see Jess Turton back to running after injury – a creditable 30 mins after a long lay off.

A total of 28 MBH turned out. That’s not bad. Some new faces too. I’ll be keeping track of your improvements as time goes by and you WILL improve if you can keep the training going and stay off the injury list.

Keep on running,

Geoff Letchford.

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