Report by Simon Roberts
A great series of four races all squeezed into the month of September. If anything, the races are tighter and the competition (almost) as intense as the border league. Big fields too: three or four hundred at each race, an amazing feat of organisation from Steve Saunders and various Wirral-based clubs.
The routes are all very varied and genuinely multi-terrain. From the beach and boulders of Thurstaston in week one, through to the sandstone escarpment of Royden Park in week two, then back to the beach near Wallasey in week three. The beach here is huge, and the race for home felt like running across the Sahara: so vast is the expanse of sand and so distant the finish.
The climax was two laps round Arrowe Park on the western side of Birkenhead, and another parkland route. A big loop of a field took us into the woods for some dark and muddy tracks: fast and gently downhill almost all the way. The usual frenetic pace at the start, so I tried to relax into it and hang back a bit: my usual tactic, although it’s not a tactic to take too far over these short distances.
The races are short and frenetic, great speed training in advance of the border league and a good way to make the often challenging transition from summer fell races to winter road race. It all makes for an exciting series: very tight in my V45 category in all four races, in fact it all came down to the last race and a close battle with Richard Webster of Wallasey. There was a similar level of friendly competition throughout the field, and excellent finishing positions from Hazel and Andy Pritchard in particular.
The series has punctuated a rather intense month of racing: nine races for me in September and I know it was the same for many others. Lots of Buckley blue vests in all these races: some of us did the whole series, some a few guest appearances.
Final Positions after 4 races:
- Simon R: 1st (V45)
- Hazel: 2nd (F50)
- Huw: 6th (V55)
- Andy P: 10th (V40)
And excellent performances in various races by Simon E, Justin, Gareth, Pete, John M, Dave W, Dawn, Allen, Fenella, Chris H (apologies if I missed anybody!)
Full results at: www.stevesaunders.co.uk