In our third ‘FOTP’ feature, we catch up with U23 Peter Brookes of Holmfirth who was also racing in Telford last weekend.
A little warning though, fans of our usual grammatical precision and exquisite use of the English language may be disappointed as Peter is a third year English Lit degree student, but please hear him out…..
Having not written anything of this sort before I can only assume that what follows will be a rather glib recollection of events most certainly not up to the usual standards of this blog but bare with it…
After a year of highs with PBs and lows with injuries, arriving at Telford knowing it would be my last race of 2014 was a warmly welcomed realisation. Never before have I had such a mixed couple of months with performances: a disappointing September finding myself incapable of completing 10km on the track (it’s only 25 laps, should be easy…right?); October saw a glimmer of positivity at the National 6 Stage running 18:55 for my leg but having this overshadowed by me missing my team mate arrive at the finish line so, with time discrepancy, I “officially” ran 19:21; November had a great start at the National XC relays but then found me a knee injury which knocked me out of good training until the beginning of December which, after finally realising that seeing a physio would sort things a lot sooner, saw a couple of reasonable cross country performances the week before Telford.
With all this in mind it was fair to say that mentally I wasn’t all there travelling to the race and as such just wanted to get it out of the way.
A fairly relaxed warm up with BRAT’s Jack Gray meant I got to check out the newly resurfaced sections of the course that had been mentioned in the race details which ultimately turned out to be a strange sandy/clay-y/gravelly wet mess which surely wasn’t going to be conducive in producing the times seen last year. At this point, knowing that I hadn’t had the best lead up to the race, I conceded to just wanting to equal last year’s time of 32:29 and anything quicker being a bonus.
Lining up on the start I found a good position which was ultimately spoilt by everyone else turning up and seeming to stand directly in front of me…knowing this wasn’t going to be an easy start I cautiously stumbled over the line before weaving in and out to find some clear ground. Finally being able to see the usual characters of Simkiss, Savery and Banks meant I had confidence of being in good company and could settle in and push on.
(Ed – Surely you mean Savery and Banks?)
The first indication of time came from the race clock, supposedly placed at 5km, which showed 15:45. Knowing that I had enough to easily ensure a quicker time than last year I pushed on to attempt the required 15:53 second half to PB. Reaching mile 5 and feeling good, with a decent group and no idea of time, we found an ever increasing pace started to fragment us and, as such, the last 0.2 miles was all out to the line, fair to say that this took substantially more effort than the end of Trafford 10k back in March which comparatively felt like nothing more than a pleasantly brisk pace.
The finish line with adjacent race clock was a welcomed sight and the time it presented being a pleasant surprise to say the least. Clocking 31:46 meant a second half of 16:01 and a mere 8 seconds off a new PB but this prompted no disappointment as just finishing in itself was reward enough after the knee problems which had plagued the weeks prior.
Finally I had reached the end of 2014 which, all in all, had been substantially more positive than negative with PBs from 1500m up to half marathon and only a smattering of injuries to go with them.
Now on to 2015, first stop Warwickshire XC Champs…”