Race report - Calday Grange Grammar School "sea to summit handicap"

Not often Matthew (my son in year 7 at the above named school) and I get a chance to run in the same race - so when I found out this event was open to parents as well as pupils, I just had to have a go!
Basically, the course started on the beach at West Kirby, ascended to a steeply climbing residential road, then went off road onto Caldy Hill, finishing with a 150m sprint along a road at its summit - total length somewhere between 800m and 900m (we were told) - and climbing just over 70m according to the OS map.
Foolishly the schoolmaster organising the event had overheard me talking about my last hill rep session - so I found myself running "off scratch" - i.e. starting with the school's best under-18s - oh dear.....meanwhile, Matthew got a 3 minute start.
What I had failed to take into account was that this climb wasn't a steady ascent in the way the hill reps I've been doing were. In training, I've been doing about 1/3 mile reps with a gradient averaging around 7% - and not deviating much from that. Here, the average gradient was about 9% - but with flat stretches and bits where the gradient was, I guess, probably nearer 25%. Could I cope? Errrrr....no!
Suffice to say that the lads I started with had eased 10m ahead by the top of the residential road (~300m down the course) - then the off-road climb was lethal - was almost reduced to walking on at least 2 occasions. Mind you - the others weren't exactly bounding up the slopes.
Got about 3/4 of the way up the course and finally started catching some runners - but overtaking them on a very narrow path was another matter. Finally, we came out on the summit road, and I'd recovered enough to attempt a sprint for the finish. At least avoided the indignity of finishing last as a result - think I ended up about 35th out of 40 or so. Time was 4:50 fwiw and had a nagging feeling I should have done better.
Meanwhile Matthew had forgotten to take his inhaler, but ended up 17th & had finished quite well apparently.
Everyone contributed - and received - a prize. Think Matt's already finished his box of Heroes - I'll save my choc orange segments for the evening!
Back to the long slog tomorrow......


  • I thought you had a niggley knee Mike?

    Tut tut.
  • Sounds a killer ! You'll have to practice for next year Mike !
  • I run up that same hill at least once a week and agree that it is not the friendliest!Well done for at least managing a spring finish.Have you tried the Calday reunion race in September?
  • Mike, you didn't tailgate anyone this time then??

    It must be great to run in the same race as your son, well done both of you. It's definitely best to keep quiet about your training at these types of events...it's bound to backfire!
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Mike, sounds like a fun day out! You should do your hill reps on this one at least once a month, for a bit of variety.
  • F(CP)F - it was under 1K! The real test comes on tomorrow's long run. If I react badly to that, then I've definitely got something to think about.

    sensible - you're local then! where are you based? I'm in Meols.
    Didn't hear about the reunion race until after it was reported in the weekly school newsletter. Next year however....

    Laura/Lady P - tailgating - chance would have been a fine thing.
    I enjoyed it - even though I never actually caught sight of Matthew during the race.
    Lesson learned - next year I'll be in (allegedly) the most appalling form!

    What's this about one of your 2003 goals being to avoid running 5K's? Lately I'd got the impression you'd joined the Disciples of Horwill - and as Frank says - in order to run a fast ½ marathon, you need to be able to run a fast 10K; to be able to run a fast 10K, you need to be able to run a fast 5K; in order to run a fast 5K (ctd page 94)....
    tut tut ;-)
  • Drew - yes, the thought did occur....
  • Mike, following that logic through we should all be focusing on 100 m sprints shouldn't we?

    Anyway, I am not ready to train under the Great Master. My last 10K was run at identical pace than 5K 3 weeks previously. Conclusion: 10K speed is my natural limit, I'll leave the sprinting to the likes of you!
  • Laura - I think Frank has a point - but actually I believe the logic breaks down at both ends of the scale - which is why I started with a half, rather than a full, marathon. At the other end of the scale, perhaps 1500m is the shortest relevant distance.
    Maybe it's just a matter of how you prefer your pain. I was thinking about this when going through a bad patch climbing up a hill on the way back from Caldy this afternoon. I seem to be finding that the short-lived, but intense agony of a hard 5K is definitely preferable to the long-drawn-out attritional experience of trying to pound out the miles as the juice gradually drains out of your legs......
  • Mike S - I'm from West Kirby and can be seen weaving through the trees around Caldy/West Kirby on a daily basis!As for the reunion race,have run it 3 or 4 times (not this year though) and there is a fairly large hill in that which needs to be done twice!9 months to prepare....
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