|Photo courtesy of www.nirunning.co.uk and Gareth Heron|
I was very content that my achillies tendon did not let me down on Saturday. T'was an excellent day for running and Orangegrove AC had been very successful in their organising of the NI Athletics Relay Championships at Victoria Park, Belfast. The weather certainly added to everyone's enjoyment, most particularly that of the spectators. Saturday was not a day for waterproofs and umbrellas with everyone attempting to crowd into the marquee, rather it was a glorious autumn day, sunny and mild with only the occasional untidy leaf littering the paths and reminding us of winter's approach.
The races were run over a circuit which was just over a mile in length. Apart from various junior races there was a combined senior/masters women's race, (3 x 2 laps), a combined senior/masters men's race, (4 x 2 laps) and a mixed relay, (4 x 1 lap). With a total of fifty five teams in the men's race of which twenty eight were masters teams there is definitely an argument for a separate race for masters men. After a lap or so gaps do open up, but at the start fifty five people hurtling off together is probably on the cusp of maximum numbers for this course. Whilst the colour coding at the top of the team numbers differentiated between those running in the senior men's section and those in the masters section you tend not to divert your attention from race concentration to colour identification in the intensity of the moment. You just want to catch the person in front of you and to keep ahead of the individual who is on your shoulder. Another reason for separate races?
As predicted myself and my compadres did not feature on the podium, but we did manage a satisfactory sixth place in the masters section.