The Lakeside Road Relays – Sunday 17th April 2016
This was to be my first mainland foray representing Ryde Harriers. The trip was expertly organised by our newly appointed men’s captain and fellow team member Trevor McAlister.
I had agreed to take part after much prompting from my better half and it would turn out to be a very enjoyable and challenging experience.
From what I have been told, this is the second year this event has been held at the beautiful Lakeside business park, a place you notice mainly while passing on the nearby Motorway with it’s backdrop of the South downs.
The weather again for the second year proved to be glorious, with just enough chill in the breeze to keep the runners from over heating. The course however had changed this year from 2 laps of 3k, mostly on the road, to a shorter more picturesque double loop of the lake’s surrounding walkways, controversially totalling a few meters short of 5k (a point I overheard other teams discussing and about how easy it would have been to add that extra to the course.)
We arrived by taxi in plenty of time to make claim to a couch in the lobby of the Lakeside building to make our basecamp and for the ladies to recce the course on their warm up run.
Midday soon arrived as did the start of the ladies race.
First to run was Julie King who produced a solid run and a great first leg for our trio of girls. Julie then handed over to Rosie Eldridge who did a great job of defending position and finished with a performance that she was pleased with. The Final leg was competently run by Lauren McIntyre in the company of some of the other teams fastest runners, a great job was done crossing the line with a team time of 1:05:03. Well done ladies!
Time for the Men’s race and armed with motivational and tactical tips from our girls, Sam Cleare was our first intrepid athlete to set off making great time in a very strong field of runners and providing me a good position to start from.
I had been keeping my stomach relatively empty all day except some porridge and granola as I knew that to do the boys justice I would have to dig deeper into my discomfort zone than a big feed would allow.
As Sam tagged my hand, I turned and sprinted almost head on into two elderly ladies who seemed to not realise that there was a race in progress and they were centre stage. Amused by the look of fear and kerfuffle that I had just caused, I set my sights on a distant orange (Eastleigh) vest as a target to either catch or at least maintain distance to.
The first lap went well only occasionally wondering why I wasn’t sat in the sun, with a beer, with the other fishermen that I passed on the banks of the lake, then the doubts crept in ”you’ve pushed too hard – too soon.” This was soon replaced with thoughts of our comrades battling the Brighton marathon and a large dose of “man up Princess, you’ll soon be done.” With a massive help on the last bend from my fellow Harriers I picked up pace and went to find Trevor at the Finish/Start line.
Very pleased to have finished, I took a minute or two to regain control of my body and returned to the lake to cheer on the Captain who fought to gain a joint men’s finishing time of 59:18.
We may not have medalled amongst some runners who I suspect may have been chiselled from the foothills of mount Olympus but we ran with our heads held high and a great sense of team camaraderie and friendship.
Many thanks. Nigel Eldridge.