For some, the start of December summons up images of reindeers, for others it is of runners dragging themselves round the streets of Stockport. Last Sunday saw the return of The Stockport 10, a popular 10 mile race which sells out and promises undulation. Living locally I planned to spectate, and hopefully cheer on anyone who looked vaguely familiar. However, following a brainwave, I ended up marshaling. Logic suggested that as seen as I would be standing around anyway, I might as well stand around in some sort of useful manner.
I was stationed just after the 1 mile point, having to direct runners down Graham Road. I deliberately name dropped here, if only to prove that I was paying attention. Jason was also out in force, stationed half a mile away. Back up the road, I held my arm out and tried to make sure runners didn’t get run over. My arm was aching, it was more productive than weights and then I had a thought, do I really need to have this arm out seen as everyone is following the person in front? Arm still out, I cheered on people I knew and people I didn’t know for about 10 mins, then my duty was done.
Jason appeared behind the tail runner and we walked back to the start/finish area, giving directions to a nice Welsh lady as we went. The race starts and finishes on the track in Woodbank Park, home to Stockport Harriers and some very nice new lottery funded facilities. Race commentary this year was provided by the running partnership that is Bashir Hussain and Jackie Newton, who had taken over from resident commentator Bob Hope, of Emmerdale fame. As well as running expertise, the pair came equipped with a dog who could run 11 miles in the fells, which more than qualified them for the role.
From our perch on the hill, we would be able to see the runners as they entered the track like triumphant champions. As we waited, we noticed a Manchester Harriers vest approaching. Could this be correct? Could our club be about to produce a Northern Champion? No, it was just Debbie who had dropped out a mile in, due to ‘just getting back from holiday’. Anyway the actual leaders did appear shortly after this red herring. The winner of the men’s race was Patrick Martin of Stockport Harriers, returning in 50.04 and the winning lady was Sophie Cowper, of Rotherham Harriers, in 60.06. Full results can be found here. In other news, I have decided that I will be running the Stockport 10 next year, as when I was asked why I wasn’t running, I didn’t really have an answer.