3rd September 2017
The UKFast Salford 10K is an ever-popular event in the race calendar and within easy reach of us, being just a short hop across town. 8 of us raced this one: Liam, Frankie, Shaun, Paul, Jim, Andy and myself (Pete) and our newest member Andrew Nurney who had joined the group on Strava and is of-course now deeply entangled within its challenges and goals. Andrew had ran a previous 3 events with us and it just seemed logical to adopt him as our own. We also ran with Jim’s dad Alan, pictured to the right in this picture.
The day started dry; as if the skies above Manchester had taken a deep breath to keep the rain off us, if only for a while. There were quite a few roadworks going on around the course, hence the need to alter the route from previous years which is good in a way as it keeps the event fresh.
We’d travelled in a few cars and decided to meet-up at the start which was in Media City Plaza and now home to the BBC and ITV television studios. The main masses didn’t arrive until quite late and then all seemed to be there at once. A few of us decided to loosen up and took a short route over and around the water to stretch our legs. Not that mine need stretching according to Liam as he seems to hold me in the same regard as Gulliver (I’m only 6’2″!). The captain led us on a meandering, snaking route up to the Lowry Theatre before we split up and completed our own little routines.
We were lucky enough to meet up with the legend that is Dr Ron Hill. A man who has influenced me greatly and doubtless countless others. If any one person deserves a knighthood, it’s this great man. Kind and approachable as ever, Dr Ron stepped in for a photo with us.
On return, it was time for the official warm-up from the UKFast trainer Aaron. Now I’m terrible at this! I once attended a ceilidh at a friends wedding reception and after causing mayhem on the dance floor, banging into people and stepping on toes, I was kindly advised (by the DJ himself) to sit down and just drink beer. When everyone goes left, I go right and so on so I’ve learned to not even try. Not so Andrew Nurney … Andrew, for those who don’t know, is pretty nifty on his pins on a dance floor (including proper ballroom dancing with his daughter) and seemed in fine form; co-ordinated, graceful and in-time. Liam leaned over and whispered “He’s not shy is he?”.
Time to open the pens
Looking around the plaza at the same time the PA asked us to go to the start, we realised that the amount of runners in attendance were not going to fit into the starting pens and we found ourselves near the back. Andy and Jim decided a PB was clearly out of the question due to the early traffic. The warm-up was somewhat pointless as the start was delayed some 15 minutes while the organisers negotiated with Metrolink to stop the trams (this happened in previous years too but appreciate its a big organisational headache). Id rather wait 15 minutes than get run-over like Alan Bradley in ‘Corrie’! Still, we used the time to get a ‘trainer shot’.
Jim had spent a week in Cape Verde (and even Strava’d his flight. Hmmmmm!) prior to this and his dad Alan sensed victory on the basis of over-indulgence by Jim on holiday. However, this race was going to be a good one for four people. Liam, Frankie and Shaun had decided to push Paul through the pain-barrier to get him below 46 mins.
The horn blew to signal the start and we were off. Andy adopted the style of the ‘luminous whirlwind wing nut’, elbowing his way through the field to clear a path to the front. Man on a mission and the earlier statement about not going for a PB was history. I followed behind nursing the injured and waiting for evac helicopters to air-lift the wounded to hospitals as a major incident was declared 😉 Enough!
The weather suited me and despite wearing a GPS watch (the £25 Garmin Forerunner 235!), I ignored it and just ran how I felt it. I’d had a PB of 0:44:36 since 2011 and hoped to better it. Somewhere around the Coronation Street set, Jim passed me as if he was chasing down a wildebeest; eyes set on someone in front following their every move. He had a sweat on though! Entering the Man Utd car park, I glanced over my shoulder and saw a blur of yellow and managed to pick out Frankie. Well aware of his famous ‘Frankie Finishing Flourish’ I dug-in and kicked on. Again entering the last kilometre, I had visions of him passing me waving two-fingers (like last time!) but not today. The course narrowed over the last 200m as we took a route over the bridge and into a finish lined with cheering support which is always an awesome feeling. I know I’d be close as my lungs had a burning sensation I’ve not had in a while. Turning the corner I saw 0:45:19, 20, 21 and thought I’d blown it until I stopped my Garmin and saw 0:44:36 and exactly the same time as my PB and realised the official time showed the gun-time. This could go one of two ways, faster or slower but I would not know until I got the text message from TDL but my phone was at the baggage drop. I would have to wait.
I’d just grabbed my t-shirt and in came the posse! Paul had done it and ran well under 46 mins to record a new PB. High fives all round but the celebrations were just beginning. Andy Hadfield had knocked around two minutes off his PB with just over 40 minutes to cover the distance – great stuff! We all made our way over to the bridge to welcome Andrew Nurney back and shortly after we arrived, he came bounding across the bridge, nearly taking another runner with him as we cheered him on to the finish.
Out of all of us, Andrew had cut the greatest chunk out of his PB by a full three minutes. Thats the daddies effect right there! It was also a better run for Shaun who is still recovering from a groin injury but as they say, good days and bad days. This was one of the better ones 🙂 (Hope to see you make a full recovery soon pal)
We ambled over to the baggage drop and picked up our stuff then chomped on some Mars Bar cake courtesy of Mrs Pete. Liam asked where his stick of celery was but it must have fallen out of my bag. I grabbed my phone and saw the SMS from TDL (sorry to talk in acronyms) which revealed I’d put a one-second dent in my PB which now rests at 0:44:35. Still, a step in the right direction and I’m 6 years older.
Jim could not hide the devastation of finding out his dad had pipped him by 3 seconds. I bet that was a long and silent drive home.
While eating our cake, we bumped into Laura from Davenport Runners who jumped in for a photo.
Race finished, Manchester let that breath go and down came the rain as we plodded back to the multi-storey car par to find out what the remainder of Sunday would hold for us.
- Andy Hadfield: 0:40:24 – PB
- Peter Gough: 0:44:35 – PB
- Alan Talbot: 0:44:52
- Jim Talbot: 0:44:55
- Paul Minton: 0:45:35 – PB
- Frankie Yan: 0:45:44
- Shaun Chambers: 0:45:44
- Liam Mellon 0:45:45
- Andrew Nurney: 0:55:34 – PB