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......