IN his first proper race of the year Rob Whalley was delighted to make a triumphant return but admitted it had been a very painful night in east Bristol.
The former British international, one of the most successful athletes in the area over the past decade, opted for the Bridge Inn 5k race to stretch his legs in anger after finally shaking off a hamstring injury that has troubled him for some time.
He won in a respectable time of 15mins 34secs, over a minute clear of Jonathan Hanley and Andrew Cooke, but all Whalley could recall was the pain of victory.
“I knew I had not trained hard enough to go off as fast I did but I still did that all the same,” said Whalley. “That first 2.5k is slightly downhill so I ran it very hard but when I turned around to come back it really started to hurt.
“By 4k I felt I had stopped breathing and I was really suffering. Coming back on that course was no fun at all!”
There will be many others in the race who will take some solace in knowing that even the top guys find it hard; pain is relative to how fast you are going.
But for Westbury Harries’ in-form Debbie Marsden the pain in her legs was due to Saturday’s Cotswold Way Relay. The hills had taken their toll and the in-form Marsden had no answer to her team-mate Emma D’Alton who raced clear for an emphatic victory in 17:50 with Marsden even being nudged out of second by Camilla Briggs.
1 Rob Whalley (B&W, M40) 15:34; 2 Jonathan Hanley 16:46; 3 Andrew Cooke (B&W) 16:54; 4 Matt Deacon (B&W, U17) 16:55; 5 Anthony Glover (WH) 17:22; 6 Lee Pattison (HT, M40) 17:34; 7 Wayne Ellis (BRR) 17:43; 8 Stuart Penny (Chep, M45) 17:48; 9 Emma D’Alton (WH) 17:50; 10 Gareth Cullen (B&W) 18:00.
M50: Jon Goodland (B&W) 18:41. M60; Tony Jeffries (WH) 19:23.
Women: 1 D’Alton; 2 Camilla Briggs (B&W, W35) 18;33; 3 Debbie Marsden (WH) 18:36; 4 Vicky Tester (B&W) 18:40. W45; Helen Hinsley (BRR) 19:52. 60 finishers.