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Many of you know that I moved home to Ireland back in 2002, and last weekend I made my first real visit back to England since I came home. It all came about around the Dublin Marathon, and a group of runners who had met over on Runners World's Forum relating to the Dublin Marathon. A few of these folk came from the north-west of England, and an idea for a trip back to that part of the world was framed, and the Stockport 10, hosted by Stockport Harriers was arranged.<br><br>
It really helped that Stockport County, the soccer team I follow, were also due to be playing at home on the Saturday, so the ferry was booked and at 9 on Friday evening we set sail for the 4 hour crossing, and subsequent 2 hour drive to our hotel. By the time we woke up on Saturday morning, it was throwing it down, the rain was incessant, and the afternoon spent at the soccer game was damp <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> - On the plus side - Stockport won Six-Nil, and the evening was spent over a nice meal, some Xmas Shopping, and a drink with Angela and Simon, who would be running Sunday.<br><br>
Thankfully on Sunday morning, the rain had vanished, and we strolled to the park where the race was starting, and once a minor panic and delay due to a lack of safety pins!, we were ready to go on the 10 miles around Stockport. I had met up with Wrexham Rob, a friend from Wales, and decided we would run together and have fun.<br><br>
The race was described as tough, and the opening miles lulled us into a false sense of security, as we gently ran along at around 8:15 pace, before the first small hill slowed Rob down and we reached half way in 42:30, exactly 8:30 pace - The tough bits were to come.....<br><br>
What was surprising and shocking in equal thoughts, was that I knew about 6 of the marshalls from my previous life in England, or from the Dublin Marathon runners, strange coming so far and knowing more people than I know at races at home! These thoughts were in my mind as I recalled that the road we were running just after half way, would begin to climb, and climb it did! A steady mile long climb from the river up a main road, with traffic not excluded, meant a single file drag. I pushed on up the hill, as I like to take on a challenge of a hill, and this one was tough, but I passed a lot of people on the climb, and once at the top, I relaxed and waited for Rob to join me. We continued on, commenting that the Marshalls were certainly getting better looking - even some of the blokes <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">....<br><br>
By the time we reached the 7 Mile Marker, I decided that I had to push on and leave Rob as I needed a test, so we parted ways and I "sped on". I started to pass a lot of people at this stage, gradually picking off people as we headed back towards the City Centre, before turning at around Mile 8 1/2 for the last, and hardest, climb of the day, up New Zealand Road to Vernon Park. I just put my head down and seemed to glide along as I worked on the hill, continuing to pass people, and ahead I could eventually see the flat top of the road. This is where I made my big mistake of the day - my lack of memory of the area was brought home to roost as I gave all to reach the road, only to turn the corner and see a further 200 yard climb ahead - OUCH! I had spent my energy to this point, and a lot of the good work was undone, as I had to let 10 or so of teh people I had passed earlier go past me here. Silly mistake...<br><br>
Once we levelled off, I knew that the rest of the race was along the flat, with the finish on the track. I pulled alongside a young woman and we briefly chatted as we entered the park and ran the last 1/2 mile together. It was only her second ever race, having lost 40 lbs in twelve months, thanks to running, and she was enjoying the experience, albeit the hills had hurt. So we ran in together, hearing my name being called out by an old friend who was acting as a Marshall, a welcome surprise as we ran onto the track. We agreed that a sprint finish wasn't expected and so we ran together until the last 10 yards when I politely offered ladies first to my companion and allowed her to take the spoils.<br><br>
The last three miles were run in 24:55, which given that included a mile of stiff climb, I was very happy with. My total time was 86:26 - not a fast workout, but given I had enjoyed my run with Rob for 7 miles, and the hills in the second half of the race, I was happy enough. Spent an hour or so catching up with friends, then we headed for sunday lunch with other, non-running, friends, and in the evening headed home for the ferry, and work again on Monday. A good weekend all in all.<br><br>
This weekend I have two 10k's to deal with. The first will be run with Adrienne on Saturday morning, but I will be trying to race 10K on Sunday morning in Marlay Park - We shall see.
 

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What a fun weekend! And I think a 1:26 10-miler sounds great!<br><br>
Good luck this weekend. Two 10Ks in a row? Sheesh. You're a glutton for punishment, aren't you?
 

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I'm glad Adrienne had your back. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br><b>Nice work Liam!!!</b>
 

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Nicely done Liam, although near the end I thought you were setting up for a different kind of finish. I can guess what the rowdy masters will say about your finish line etiquette. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Oh my, Liam, you have it ALL WRONG.<br><br><span style="font-size:xx-small;">(sigh)</span><br><br>
Nicey-nice is OK for mid-race, but you must crush both friend and foe alike with a killer sprint and some calculated elbow action as you approach the finish line. A little reeducation is in order. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/cool.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cool">
 

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LOL - Have to say that has always been my motto in race finishing - Always had a KICK! finish, and barge my way thru - heck I even have pointed elbows! I don't know what came over me, I apologise profusely and will never let it happen again....... Am I forgiven?<br><br>
Liam
 
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