Swift Sunday Swinton Session. That was the plan anyway. I had ran the City of Salford Womens 5.25 mile race, once before in 2013. Life was different in 2013, I had ran my first marathon a few months earlier, I was an unaffiliated runner and I had made my way to Swinton through the complex method of public transport, 2 buses in fact! To summarise: I couldn’t fail to run a 5.25 PB in 2016, could I?
5.25, yes you are reading that correctly. So what’s with the 0.25? Short answer is: I don’t know. However, speculating unofficially, the course in main is one large loop, with the loop beginning and finishing on the busy East Lancs Road. Luckily runners don’t run across this road, help and safety minefield, but under a subway. Ultimately, I get the feeling that starting and finishing a race next to a traffic fuelled road wasn’t high up on the event organiser’s list, so they’d added a bit on before and after. Plus, this way we also got to run up a nice little hill at the end, finishing closer to the race HQ. Please note, I could be completely wrong here, maybe they just fancied 5.25, why must running always be run over standardised distances? Look at that 26.2188 race that everyone loves to run. Swinton Running Club could in fact be trend setters?
After accepting the 0.25, I had to work out a time to aim for. Having recently run a 5 miler at Stanley Park, in Blackpool, in 34.03, I decided that equated to roughly somewhere between 36 -36.30 minutes. I borrowed Jason’s Garmin for the occasion, which proved futile as the screen locked a second before the race. To be honest, I never run to a calculated pace anyway so I don’t know who I was trying to kid. True to form, I went off too fast and ended up hanging on for 4.25 miles. I even had a chat with another runner during my 1st mile of fame.
The course itself was well marshaled, Swinton Running Club were out in force to ensure that no one got ran over and they did a great job as no one did get run over. The standard of entries was impressive, with the winner completing the race in 30.42. Anyway, back to my struggle, whilst running past Jason at the 5 mile mark, who I managed to not see, I was apparently gaining on the runner in front (this was news to me and completely accidental). As mentioned previously, the final 0.25 involved a little hill, which felt like a very steep hill, which I’m sure is just a normal hill. Then the end, where I got a medal and ate some Quality Streets (ended up with a nutty number, when I was actually after a toffee). I looked around for Jason, who was obviously walking up the hill unbeknownst to me. So did I do it? Did I run somewhere between 36-36.30? 37.025, it was actually 37.02 but it could have been 37.025, I’m sure Jason’s Garmin will tell me…
Thanks to Swinton Running Club for organising the annual race, I’m sure I’ll be back next year. I realise that I haven’t explored the fact that the race is unique, not only for its distance, but for its ‘women only’ factor. I intend to explore this topic in greater detail in a future post.