Report from Sean O’Halloran:
Deciding not to do the OAC fell race, Emma Jones, Debra Brown and I took part in the inaugural Saltaire Shaker approximate 15km off-road race today. Arriving nice and early we collected our personalised race numbers and waited with anticipation for the start. The start was delayed by approximate ten minute due to people still waiting to use the single toilet but eventually we got underway.
The course was a mixture of meadow type grass at the start/finish area, well maintained tow paths (dirt and aggregate) and a woodland part in the middle of the race. Setting off at my pre-determined pace I quickly got into a nice rhythm and enjoyed the scenery while the field of runners thinned out. There was a little bottle neck to cross from the river to canal bank but nothing that would cause too much delay.
Mentally I had broken down the race to three parkruns and towards the three mile mark (end of first parkrun) the heat was starting to effect some of the runners and soon I was overtaking people but asking if they were ok as I went past. I lost sight of Emma before the first mile but Debra was in my sights and a target to catch in the second half of the race. From about the 3.5 mile mark I noticed that I was slowly gaining on Debra. I thought to myself, that’s nice of her to wait for me but unfortunately like some of the other runners Debra was flagging in the heat (there was very little shade along the canal path). Just after the 4 mile marker I caught up to Debra and again checking she was ok pushed on to the woodland section. This section was a nice surprise and even I enjoyed the undulating terrain, especially as I caught and passed some runners up the biggest hill on the course (not a match on the hills around Otley).
Eventually, towards the end of the woodland section we came to the water station, this was very welcomed and would of been better being a mile earlier. But after a slurp and a dousing I knew it was back along the canal path to the finish. My pace had dropped slightly and although I could see some more runners in the distance I was not gaining on them and settled for the position I was in.
Now on my third parkrun I headed for home, avoiding dog walkers, cyclists and walkers (very busy path). I was directed off the canal path by a marshal and told “across the bridge and along the field to the finish” which was a surprise as I thought I had further to go. So I followed the orders and increased my pace to the finish line and before you knew it I had done it. I managed to complete the course in 1:41:34. I was greeted by Emma at the finish line who had finished in 1:23:14 and Debra came in behind me in 1:46:36. I collected my goodie bag and certificate (not had a sports certificate for years, next will be badges to stitch on my trunks) and headed for home and lunch.
I was really pleased with my performance and it was nice to do a race longer than a 10km. There was some very good running by all and well done to Emma for being the first OAC member home. The race was well organised and the personalised race numbers was a nice touch and great when supporters along the route could shout out your name. General feedback from myself and other runners was the lack of water stations especially on a hot day. But this is a race I will look out for next year and I hope some more OAC members do also.
The race was won by Mike Jefferies (Unattached) in 56.22 and the fisrt lady in fourteenth position overall was Donna Edmondson fourteenth (64.45). For OAC, Emma Jones finished 101st (83.14), Sean O’Halloran 160th (101.34) and Debra Brown 167th (106.36).