When I first saw this one advertised I failed to notice the word hill in the title and read it as Bowley Trail Race.
Things were pretty scarce on the racing calendar this weekend so had a choice to make between a four mile flat road race with the speedy one or this trail race. In the end I opted to go back to my roots where I spent many of my childhood years.
After discussions with others I discovered the Irishman was also going to the show so at least I wouldn’t be on my own. As we arrived at Great Harwood the memories flooded back so I preceded to bore John with all the details of where I lived, where I worked, which school I went to, where I delivered papers, etc. Sorry John but childhood memories will always be there!
Anyway on to the registration which actually was on the show ground, so we got ourselves sorted with plenty of time to spare had a look around, watching a dog show of all things. We got talking to a bloke at the main arena who turned out to be the chap who organised the race. He proceeded to tell us about the route and which way to go, etc. I did actually know parts of it being from the area.
After a chat it was back to the car to get changed and warmed up a bit with a quick run around, then onto the main arena and the start where we were paraded into the main arena with lots of people on the outside clapping and cheering - felt like cattle in a pen really! Anyway a quick speech on the PA system and away we go to Chariots of Fire blaring out which bought on quite a bit of laughter!
A lap round the parade ring and out through the gate couldn’t come quick enough. Up through the adjoining fields and at the top onto a track which was quite good running. But the one thing which let the race down was the number of stiles constantly slowing you down so you couldn’t get into a constant settled pace.
Anyway we came to our first hill and as is customary everyone broke into a walk rather than a run conserving energy, then it flattened out and away we went again over more stiles and through more fields.
Then we met with one big hill which was impossible to even attempt running up, all around including me clambered to the top grasping clumps of grass to pull us up. Really tiring by the time you reached the top. I muttered a few choice words to one of the marshals adding never again!
Along I go to yet another stile and, catching a glimpse of Tarmac on the other side, became overexcited and fell over the stile taking quite a knock and obtaining quite a bruised thigh in the process. A few runners did actually stop at this point asking if I was okay to which I replied “Yes thanks, carry on!” I needed a few minutes to compose myself when at least five people ran past.
I broke into a steady jog down the road in some discomfort but the further I went started to open up again, actually catching up and passing three of the five who had passed me, and one of them actually said “Well run mate!” as I went by, which was a nice touch and in turn this spurred me on a bit.
I could see John ahead of me and tried upping the pace to close in, but John is a quick finisher and as he went through a stile he looked back and spotted me and as always upped his own pace and pulled away.
I gave up slightly at this point and let him go because I was just more interested in reaching the end now I the finish was in sight and managed a bit of a sprint to the line. A burger and a pint was in order and by this point this was the only thing on my mind!
John managed to knock about three mins off last year and I finished in the same time as he had done the previous year. I did say never again but I have no doubt I will be back next year to run this short but quite tough course.