The Christmas Handicap
Wythenshawe Park was the venue for this years Christmas handicap event which incorporated an optional 5k or a 10k route through the park. The weather was fine and it was a good turnout for both distances. Dave Rodgers and Mike Wharton are now experts at putting on these events and manage to group people together in order for them to get the best from themselves.
The idea is that participants say what they think they will achieve and the faster you are the greater the time ‘handicap’ you are given behind those who set off first. Many years ago Sale Harriers were to be seen running 10mile handicap races from Knutsford back to Sale post office. Chester Road was not quite so busy in those days. See below from 1991.
There was a great turnout for this revived handicap run, despite the inevitable pull outs or no shows of about 20, they all missed a great event. We wanted an inclusive format to reflect all sections of the club, even social members, coaches, parents and relatives. Right across all age groups, although any under 11’s started with parents and in groups. There were even a couple of toddlers in buggies pushed by mum or dad running. So although a fun event, there was the odd comment about some running seriously, but for most it was a really good hard training run.
We wanted recognised distances, so chose 10Km (2 laps) for Senior, Junior and Veteran runners or 5Km (1 lap) for Young Athletes, parents and others. A mainly soft ground, multi-terrain course was testing, but enjoyable for them. Joseph Spark (U11) was finishing fast and had taken a good lead before the finish on the track, with Grace Walker (U15) finishing strongly, then Harry Edmundson (U13) recording a fast time. Young Athletes running 5Km dominated the first nine, before first Lady Sinead Ferguson (LV40) came in in a really good time.
She was followed by the fastest young athlete, Kian Lindsey (U17), who ran really well. Not far behind was the 10km first Man and fastest , Olivier Gaillemin (V40). Fastest Lady was Sarah Douglas in a really good time considering the trail nature of the course, then there were many more finishing before Club Secretary, Frank Cordingley, adopted a sweeper role at the back, after already running the parkrun an hour earlier.
The bring a prize, win a prize, was very popular, and full of surprises, before we had cakes and drinks to finish off the morning. Comments of having a really enjoyable time, camaraderie, mixing of age groups, a family atmosphere, a good course, but still a tough run, and a format that seemed to work for everyone to enjoy. Maybe we will do a mid-summer one, any volunteers to help?
Thanks to Mike Wharton and Jenny Miles for sorting the recording for entries and results. Dave Rodgers, Dave Marsh, Colin Gell, Glenn Savage, Jerry Smith, Ken James, Steve Windebank, Mia Gibbons and any others who helped with the course and set up.
Although Dave went to great lengths to explain the route and produce an excellent route map, some people went a little 'off piste', and they know who they are! Please have a good look at the information provided before races, whether road, trail or cross country. It is easier for the organisers if everyone goes the same way.
For interest here is the route map.
Thanks to all those who took time out of their day to help.
See also photos taken on the day by Kirsty Edgson Click here to see her work
Posted 19/12/2016 15:00