THE SUN LIFE GREAT RACE – SEPTEMBER 1990

(or OLDFIELD V CIERPINSKI)

Thursday 6/09

Stage 5  –  Keswick to Grasmere (13.2 miles)

100 starters   – Weather – wet, miserable and cold (heavy drizzle turning to rain)

Well what can you expect in the Lake District! And this is just the start of the hilly stages.

The first serious climb came within just 1 minute of the start – my pace for this first mile was at 7mins. Set off fairly steady and got into a good rhythm on the hills. Shortly after this, heavy drizzle  was blown by a strong crosswind and sometimes following wind.

Got into a goodish group, running along at 5m 50s pace. Around Thirlmere Water, I  increased the pace gradually and drew away from the group. No one came with me and no one caught me. Chased Mike McLeod and passed him on the long steepish descent into Grasmere and did the same to Eddie Wedderburn (Tipton Harriers & international).

Felt good, relaxed, strong and in no distress. Went well up last hill. However, now seem to have a slight pain on inside of left knee. Hope it does not develop. Must be wary of it tomorrow and so perhaps have an easier day. Altogether, a pleasing run.41m 37s behind overall leader Overall position 84th Average stage pace = 5m 50s

 Time: 76m 56s  (Winners time 65m 13s)   :  Position 71st  : [Cierpinski 72m 59s – 51st]

Stage Incidents

  • Steve Brace started very slowly and finished with 80. 02s in 92nd place.
  • Dave Moorcroft ok today.
  • Kosgei really struggling in 5th place.
  • Dos Santos (Kosgei’s punch victim yesterday) won today’s stage as well.

Friday 7/09

Stage 6  –  Bowness to Kendal (9.04 miles)

100 starters   –  weather is sunny (for a change!)

A tough hilly stage although downhill for approx last 2 miles. Left knee giving slight pain at side. Decided to have a fairly easy day on this short stage but to keep it within 6 mins miling. Long hill – steep in part for 2 miles. Got into a good rhythm and in no distress. Passed Cierpinski on all uphills only to find he passed me on the downhills. He made friendly gestures as he went passed by patting me on my back. Getting quite pally with him although he speaks very little English and I speak no German.

Even though this was a ‘resting run’ I found it tough and have body fatigue so it turned out to be a particular hard tiring effort to keep within the 6 mins pace. Passed one of the Klimes twins over last 2 miles. Knee not giving me much problem and in fact seems a little easier.

49m 36s behind overall leader Overall position 87th Average stage pace = 5m 45sof the ‘stars’ are suffering with badly blistered feet, sore calves and quadriceps and some with knee problems – possibly as a result of fast running downhill and thin racing shoes – what a shame!!!! Anyway, I survived the day.

Time:  52m 07s (Winners time 44m 08s)  : Position 87th : [Cierpinski 51m 17s – 78th ]

 Saturday 8/09

Stage 7  –  Kendal to Kirby Lonsdale (11.5 miles)

98 starters  –  weather is sunny.

Another ‘toughie’. 6 miles up steep hills (36m 20s). Took it rhythmically and in no trouble. The final 5 miles down could have caused some problems if I went too hard. However am content with the pace of well inside 6 mins miling. From the start the first 4 miles was a struggle with breathing and general lethargy. Not too much problem with pain at side of left knee, although at times felt it around the back of it.

Again passed Cierpinski on uphills and again he passed me on the downhills, with the usual by now of the pat on the back plus this time a thumbs up. I caught him yet again coming into Kirby Lonsdale and passed him just at the point where club members Peter Rawnsley and Mick Levery were standing outside a pub with pints of beer in their hands. They were on their annual ‘Lakes’ training week and as they were in the area, came to give me tremendous moral support – it was great to see them and they didn’t realise that it was Cierpinski who I was passing. Raced the final half mile but he beat me by 5 seconds.  He told me in his broken English that “next time it is mine’ – a great bloke and friend.

The Sheffield lads met me at the runners tent afterwards with smiles and congratulations. I had the feeling that they wished they were taking part and seemed to be in awe! I introduced them to Cierpinski and a few of the other International runners.

58m 19s behind overall leader Overall postion 86th Average stage pace = 5m 46s

The final 2-3 miles surge tactics seemed to have worked again but as days go by it is getting tougher to race at sub 6 minute miling. Must now take it day by day with every day I finish being a bonus.

Time:   65m 08s  (Winners time 56m 10s)  : Position 78th : [Cierpinski  65m 03s – 77th ]

Stage incidents

  • Gerry Kiernan, Colin Reitz and Geoff Smith are still having injury problems with achilles tendon and Septic toes (Reitz).

Sunday 9/09

Stage 8  –  Bolton to Manchester  (13.7 miles)

96 starters  – weather is hot and humid.

Hot, sticky and draining. A long stage but also a difficult one. This one is where the 20% rule will be strictly adhered to – police orders. Therefore have to run hard just to be sure – average pace estimated at around 5m 40s. Always aware of maintaining such a pace so as to not be ‘swept up’. Feeling the constant sub 6 mins miling pace in legs on this 8th day but am in no distress.

Concentrated on my running and style. Knee not giving any problems. Was able to ‘come through’ again over last 3-4 miles and passed many who had gone off too fast. Had enough by the end though.

1hr 6m 16s behind overall leader Overall postion 83rd Average stage pace = 5m 37s

Had my photo taken with Cierpinski twice afterwards. Stomach really hurting and feeling strained. Some of the front runners beginning to slip back down field now. Change of hotel yet again.

Time:   76m 53s (Winners time 66m 49s) : Position 70th : [Cierpinski  75m 54s – 62nd]

Stage incidents

  • Gerry Keirnan (Irish International) dropped out today with very sore and damaged Achilles tendons. He had run in very light racing shoes with very little cushioning.
  • I was very nervous before this stage.

The Sun Life Great Race – Part #3