Ed Prickett Relays - The Magnificent 7
We called ourselves the magnificent 7. After weeks, indeed months, of hectoring from me, 7 hardy souls stepped forward to compete for LERC in the Ed Prickett Memorial Relays, held on Saturday on the scenic University of Nottingham campus. The course was a deceivingly straightforward 2 miles, that began in the grassy centre of the campus before skirting the boating lake towards the Lakeside Arts Centre. So far, so good, but those in the know were aware of the brutish hill that lay in wait for a significant portion of the second mile, taking the runners from the lake up to the highest point of the campus, before a more gentle descent back to the changeover area.
The rules of the relay were simple. 4 runners for each team ran the course in turn. LERC 1 comprised of myself, Andy Peat, Rob Fox and Pete Webb, while LERC 2 consisted of Captain Shaun Burton, Kevin Barry and Damian Cowlishaw. In the absence of a 4th man, I volunteered to run the final leg to ensure a completed team.
The first leg saw 33 runners come together for a fast and furious start. I decided to sit off the pace a little, knowing what "joys" the hill was likely to bring, and was rewarded with enough energy to see me able to pass a handful of runners on the steep incline to record an even paced time of 10:40. Shaun, too, was aware of the hill and ran 14:06, an excellent effort that was much quicker than he'd expected and close to 7 minute miling. The second leg saw the runners string out and Andy Peat, aware of the fact that he had been preparing for longer distances recently and was running the Ashby 20 the following day, still managed an excellent 11:00, showing promise for half marathons to come. Kev Barry has been enjoying plenty of Tuesday speedwork in recent weeks and finally had an opportunity to put his speed to the test, so he was rightly delighted with a first mile of 7:40 and an overall time of 16:49. On leg 3, Rob Fox was pitted against his erstwhile rival Pete Stafford of Mansfield, who was competing for the interestingly named "Old Farts", and his time of 11:47 was comfortably inside 6 minute-miling. Meanwhile, Damian Cowlishaw also ran quicker than predicted, getting round in 14:53, inside his expected 7:30 pace. The final leg for LERC 1 was left to Pete Webb, who'd commented that he would be lucky to break 13 minutes. Instead, he ran more than half a minute quicker and recorded a brilliant 12:24 to see the team home in 16th of 33 teams. I ran round for a second time to ensure that LERC was also able to take its place on the leaderboard of completed teams.
The standard of competition on the day was excellent, with some GB internationals toeing the line. Nottingham University's A team prevailed over strong Loughborugh teams, Mansfield Harriers' A team, Leicester University and Sheffield Running Club, amongst others. Everyone who turned out for LERC gave it their all and were rewarded with performances of which they can be proud.
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