Running The Rauceby Ripper

I was feeling much better prepared for the Rauceby Ripper race than I had been for the Ropsley XC Half-Marathon a couple of weeks previously. I had run a few times during the week leading up to the race and my chest was feeling fine, unlike Ropsley I could swing my left arm without my ribs hurting so I was feeling a little more confident.
Race day was pretty cold, there was a thick frost on the ground which remained all day long, and a light covering of snow in places.



Photograph courtesy of Craig Watson, click here for his website

I got a good start, leading for just over a mile with Greg Southern and Andy Taylor right behind me. The first mile was completed in 5m22s, and then Taylor and Southern began to pull away. The rest of the chasing pack ran line astern for the next few miles, only about 200 yards separating the next dozen or so runners. There were some fast field sections, some LandRover tacks and even a little tarmac. There were no meaningful hills anywhere on the course which meant that the race was pretty quick, although the ground was icy and there were plenty of frozen ruts so the speed had to be tempered slightly to avoid coming a cropper and hurting oneself. The final couple of miles were the most fun, the course went through High Wood which had some interesting sections, plenty of tight turns and some bombholes.
The chasing pack had spread out in the closing stages, I was in 6th place with about two miles to go, but in the last half mile I realised that I had a sprint finish on my hands, Simon Hartwig of Forrest Field Streets and Aaron Ward from Brentwood Triathlon were gaining rapidly on me. Ward faded in the last hundred yards but Hartwig pushed me right to the line and I only just held on for 6th place, 8½ miles in 54m58s, not too bad considering the cold and the ice.



I should also say a big well done to Russell Newman. He is still quite new to running and was volunteered for this race at the last minute, he finished a creditable 134th in 1h19m35s. He was certainly feeling it the next day!

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