Richard Perry

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Race Report: GLCL 2017 Road... Race Report: GLCL 2017 Road...

Race Report: Rack Raid 2017

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Rack Raid 2017 - Stage 13 Image by Chris Hill via Facebook
Race Details  
Event Rack Raid 2017 - Stage 13 Caerleon to Castell-y-Bwlch
Date & Time 04 June 2017 18:05:00
Distance 5.43mi (Overall - 101.67mi)
Type Road Race (Stage Relay)
Time 38:23 (Team Overall - 12:43:24)

Rack Raid is another brilliant local event that is put on by Fairwater Runners. It is an invitation only relay event for clubs in South Wales, starting at Grosmont Castle and finishing at the Castell-y-Bwch Pub. The route is approx. 100 miles split across 13 stages of varying length from 5-13 miles. Each stage starts and finishes at a castle/historic location and it is great fun. Every year I look forward to it, but this year I was quite concerned I would be letting the team down after being hit with ITB pain two weeks before the race (more on that in a future post).

Thankfully, I was (or at least I felt I was) good to go with a couple of days to spare. Irritatingly though, I had a nagging in the back of my head that was telling me that doing this race would lead to a more serious injury so I was much more nervous than usual before the race. I don’t think it helped that my leg didn’t start until the afternoon. Anyway, the time came and we drove over to Caerleon Amphitheatre and met up with a load of guys from the Club. Paul and I got ourselves ready and joined the rest of the runners at the start line ready to start the final stage of the Rack Raid for Caerleon RC.

The gun went and we were off, up the hill out of the amphitheatre and right… no left. I was feeling much better once I was running, all the nerves were gone, I felt nothing in my knee and I felt strong. That gave me a huge confidence boost. I settled into a good pace close to the front runners in 5th position knowing the hills that were ahead of us. The sun had come out despite the forecast, so it was going to be a hot one. I made sure not to push too hard up the first hill on Malthouse Lane whilst still trying to maintain my position, then pushed hard on the downhills. I was soon running with guy from Lliswerry Runners (our main rivals) and I decided to stick with him until I could see an opening to push ahead.

After a brief interruption whilst trying to cross the road at the end of Malthouse Lane onto Pentre Road, we picked the pace up slightly ready for the coming downhill section. I was pleased I was able to stick with him, and also that we were not that far behind the lead pack still. The race was going well, but the dreaded final hill was still to come. Just before we started the slow climb up to the base of ‘the hill’, I noticed that the front runner had broken away from the pack and was starting to gain a fair lead on the rest of us. Thankfully though, the rest of the pack were still within my sights.

It was at this point that I pushed the pace slightly knowing there was a slight downhill to recover on before ‘the hill’. This was definitely the right move as I started moving away from the Lliswerry Runner (Geraint Heath) and gaining on the three runners ahead of me. By the time we got to the base of the hill, I must have been about 30s behind 4th place so I put my head down and pushed as hard as I could all the way through to the finish. I’m sure it wasn’t that fast, but my legs were burning and I wasn’t really aware of what was going on around me. The only thing I was thinking was “just keep running, you’re nearly there!” so that was what I did. As I passed through the finish I couldn’t stop so I stumbled my way through the crowds as my legs rapidly turned to jelly and collapsed in the beer garden of the Castell-y-Bwch knowing only that I had given everything to finish that race as fast as I could.

In the end, I finished in 5th, 18s behind 2nd place and 8s behind 4th in a time of 38:23. I couldn’t have been more pleased given two weeks before I didn’t think I would be running at all. Paul also put in an incredible performance coming in 14th in a time of 44:43. This was definitely a race for both of us to feel proud of.

Overall, I think we did really well as a club. Caerleon A finished in 12th place overall in a combined time of 12:43:24 and Caerleon B finished in 21st place in a time of 13:58:13. Everyone seemed to have a good time, even though the legs they were running were really tough, and they gave it their all. Our support team were absolutely fantastic as always, keeping the runners hydrated and motivated throughout the day and making sure all the logistics were managed so that we only had to worry about the run itself. The 26 runners couldn’t have done it without the support of everyone involved in the day, no matter how small a part they played, and we are all extremely grateful.

The Rack Raid is a great event for bringing everyone together and making them feel part of the team. It was the first proper race I did representing the club back in 2014 and I hope the event keeps going ad infinitum.

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