Shifnal Steeplechase Half Marathon – 24.6.18

14th Shifnal Steeplechase Half Marathon, Shropshire, 24/06/18,1030 hrs.
Race Report by Dave Phillips.
Having done 12 of these how could I not do this one? Last week I cried off from the Hampton 9 with possibly the most painful injury I’ve ever had. I slipped down a slope in the garden, my right leg was at right angles to my body up the slope and my “groin/crutch” smashed to the ground beneath me. Thought my leg + other things had come off. Eventually I got up and soon afterwards I fell over exactly the same again. Now I know what legless means-as if I didn’t before! Torn groin muscles/tendons/lower hip/joints etc. are not to be messed with!
So never felt so bad but Shifnal called as does Leam half, Wyre Forest half and Tenby marathon in the next 3 weeks.
So the physio it had to be and she banned me from running (as did my daughter Anna also a physio who lives opposite us in Claverdon). But they didn’t say I couldn’t race walk so I called my friend Gareth Morgan the Shifnal  organiser who said I could start as early as I wanted as I knew every step the course. So a 0930 start it was for me. Stupid or what but it was my 349th half with Leamington next week the 350th. No brainer but don’t tell my physio or she will kill me.
I decided to race walk as running simply hurt too much and I paced at 4 miles per hour-at least with walking you keep both feet on the ground all the time. Anyway running was just not possible.
This is probably one of the best runs anywhere all in beautiful countryside with the start and finish at Idsall School and Sports Centre. It is on quiet country lanes virtually traffic free and about 5 miles are on fields, trails, tracks, woodland paths, rights of way, fords, and round the sewage farm at 11. Plus there are some nasty hills.
It’s called the Steeplechase following on from the horse riding gentry of yesteryear who raced cross country from village church to village church (all with steeples) leaping over hedges en route. In the early days of this half, 80% was off road going from steeple to steeple but things have changed a bit. We still go to 4 churches en route, Shifnal, Ryton, Beckbury, Kemberton and back to Shifall near the finish.
So I paced myself at 15 min miles and despite much pain it was manageable. At 6 miles the leaders passed me but at least we were on the way home.  But the heat and sun-around 24 degrees for most of the way and this was a real killer. Made sure my 4 mph plan was kept in place.  At around 10 miles the guy next to me said “I just felt some rain”. But it was the farmer’s spray in a potato field that just came over the high hedge onto the track we were on.
So a great event and once again thanks to Gareth Morgan who puts this on every year and there should be more Massey runners there in what I reckon is probably the best UK ½ marathon as it has everything  anyone could wish for.
Great medal and as many bananas and huge oranges as you could eat so thanks Gareth. See you with my Massey mates next year.
Massey time:
Dave Phillips 3hrs 17 mins (so my 4 MPH plan worked!).