I parked up the car just off the verge on Roger Lane in Maltby village and made my way up the high street to the Village Hall. The two women behind the table were happy to take my £12 entry fee for the Maltby 7 Road Race. The otherwise sleepy hollow located on the boundary between Teesside and North Yorkshire had, by 10:30am, been truly over-run by runners.
I am still spluttering and coughing abit from the vestiges of a squatting cold... I thought they'd brought out some legislation recently that made that sort of thing illegal. I couldn't face chasing a time at the more local Newcastle 10k. It was a cracking morning (Grommit!) and around 200 runners took off up the lanes after 2 minutes silence, the silence being peppered by frequent garmin and GPS bleeps, peeps, tatties and neeps. After a few words with a lad who knows someone in our club I wished him luck and moved on and began working through the crowd, but being careful to progress in bite size stretches.
I was soon in with a guy from NYM but he pulled away after 2 miles although he never got too far in front throughout the race. Someone shouted that he had the over 50's prize in the bag. I then caught a South Shields runner as we followed the undulating road close to a clump of faceless, indolent wind turbines turning languidly in the slight breeze. Quite a contrast to my staccato and increasingly, grizzly technique. There were another 2 or 3 NYM's just ahead but I just couldn't pick it up enough to catch them, and with a mile to go and the arrival of a small but steep hill, South Shields man dumped me from his smooth slipstream and I was left to run along to the end of the high street to grab a glorious 32nd place.
Each finisher got a bag filled with prizes, but on inspection it contained a bottle of water, a plastic bottle and a cream towel. Don't want to carp, but obviously a Granola bar and banana were a bridge too far.
The highlight of the trip came afterwards when after a short warm down, I dug the bike out from the boot, changed into da lyrca and took myself off to Suggitts cafe in my old cycling stomping ground of Great Ayton with £1.50 in my pocket. There were, inevitably a group of bikies ensconced within, but I proffered my coinage and came away with a mug of tea and a scone and jam. Result.