YMCA Blackleach 5 Mile Trail Race

Sunday 11th September 2016
The curtain fell on the long spring / summer season in the tranquil surroundings of Blackleach Country Park. The green oasis nestling in bustling north Salford, was the perfect backdrop to the final race of the BVR championship. Whilst the leaves changing colour to browns and yellows signalled the approach of Autumn, the weather was favourable and the running conditions perfect. The soft September sun paired with a slight cooling breeze and a terrain which was largely dry underfoot. The 5-mile trail course, consisting of 2 laps of flat, steady paths, through woodland and around lakeside, was fast and ideal for quick finishing times. Notwithstanding the styles which could be hurdled at speed or for the less brave (including the author) stepped over at leisure. Runners were also helped by the impressive organisation of the host club Manchester YMCA Harriers, encouraging marshals and a supportive crowd gathered to watch.
At the start line the four assembled BVR runners were in a reflective mood, contemplating the past season: the highs, the lows, the near misses. These thoughts were all put aside however as the race got underway, focusing on maximum effort and one final push toward victory. First to finish was Vic Walsh in a time of 32.13. Next, in a breathtakingly exciting battle to the line was Damien Tolan in 37.56, very closely followed by Phoebe Willis in 38.00. The quartet was completed with BVR men’s cross country captain Patrick O’ Brien, majestically powering over the finishing line in a time of 39.53.
The race at an end, the results in, the season turned and the pages of history written. We now cast our thoughts to the next season: Halloween, bonfire night, Christmas. Running through the leaves, legs caked in cross country mud, shivering on start lines on cold, frosty mornings. The wind, the rain, the sleet and the snow. The pain and the glory. New races to run and new chapters to be written.   VW