There was a 3k on the green race last Wednesday (25th November). Entry was down on the usual numbers due to the level 4 coronavirus restrictions with only myself and James Bowden toeing the line. With no marshals available it was down to runners to know the route. However, in the 30s before the start, James informed me that he’d never run a 3k on the green before and had no idea where the turn was. He then suggested that it would probably be best if I lead the race so that he wouldn’t miss the turn. James knows that I dislike leading and I suspect he did know the route and this was a deliberate tactic to get me to take the front. I naïvely fell into his trap, starting faster than was sustainable into a stiff headwind. 5 minutes of running took us to the turn, my legs, lungs and heart were screaming for me to slow down but James was right behind me waiting to pounce. With the tailwind, leading was no longer a disadvantage, and when I eased off a fraction James surged a ¼ stride ahead. I matched his pace and got back in front. He came again, this time getting ½ a stride ahead, again I responded and got back in front. From training with James, I knew if it came down to a sprint finish he would rinse me so from 600 m to go I went all in. 300 to go and I had a small gap but it wasn’t opening. 200 to go and James was still there, I physically couldn’t go any faster. 100 the gap was still only a few meters, my form had gone, my legs were tight, I had that familiar taste of blood in my mouth. 50 m left, I knew I should have it but I couldn’t afford to slow down at all. Finally, I reached the finish line only seconds ahead of James. My heart was pounding, my vision was blurry, I needed to lie down… I’ve missed racing!
Niall McAlinden 9 min 40s
James Bowden 9 min 43s