|All the 12 Stage team and 4 of the 6 lasses|
Despite being the slowest of our long leg runners I was very pleased to run at an average pace of approx 5:35 per mile for approx 4.8 miles. (the approx is because it was much shorter than advertised and various peoples Garmins gave slightly different readings.) That pace would see me get inside the magic 35 minutes for 10k, so if I am thereabouts now, two months since I last did fast trackwork and the type of speedy reps 10k training entails, then I should be able to run a flat summer 10k in the 34:15-34:45 region.
Us long leg runners ran two laps of the course around Sefton Park whereas the short leg runners ran just one. I timed myself and at the lap end noted 13:05. I'd heard Milly say his time was about 12:45 for his one lap leg, so I knew I was going quite well. I did slow a bit on my second lap (to 13: 27) but I felt really strong right until the line so I think my fast lap 1was due to a brief spell when I tried to keep pace with a lad who had caught and passed me - I even passed him back briefly on the only short downhill which went through a twisty turny section.
|Kev Bell strives for the finish line|
|Then I begin|
|A bit less striving from me|
|Then its Gareths turn|
We had switched places with Barrow a couple of times during the first 11 legs and were ahead with only leg 12 to go. With our anchorman Gareth Melvin racing for the first time after lengthy injury trouble, there was every chance the Barrow runner would catch and pass him. The rest of our team were out in force on the course, cheering loudly each time he passed us. Gareth held off the threat and we beat Barrow. Gareth didnt have a clue what had been happening behind him.
The biggest battle of the day (apart from the Border/Barrow battle and interest with internationals Thomas Abyu, Michael Rimmer and Andy Jones), and the one that drew huge crowds to the finishing mall, was the one between arch rivals Graham "Milly" Millican and his sister Cazzer. Being much older, Caz was given a few minutes handicap headstart, which allowed her to hold off the faster finishing brother and take the family prize (a bag of cakes).
|Millicans - all friends off track|
|Michael Rimmer - less interesting (BBC take note)|
As I write this I am preparing to go for my last long hard run - lets hope my drink hasn't been stolen again!