Report from Gemma: With barely two-weeks’ notice and very little training I stepped in to do the Liversedge Half-Marathon and to run on behalf of all the Otley AC injured ladies.
After a heavy night at the presentation dinner Friday night followed by “Kitchen disco” I wasn’t sure how I would manage as wasn’t exactly full of energy!
As we got there it was chucking it down with rain and blowing a gale and I wondered if I could sneak back to the car without anyone noticing where my flask of coffee and Bakewell slice were waiting!
There were 15 Black & Whites, a few of who I saw as we were waiting to start and the rest as they passed me in the very early stages.
I set off with a target time of 2:10, as I thought 10-minute mile was achievable. The first mile I completed in 8:30 so had to try to slow down! It was a very tough, well marshalled 13.1 miles, undulating in nature on road and paths throughout the villages and towns in the area.
There was a gentle climb from about mile one to mile five up onto the moor top and then a steep downhill at Baliff Bridge. This should have been easy, however, there was a head on driving wind which was right in our faces.
My shoelace also came undone on the way down so had to make a stop at the bottom. I kept breaking the distance down in my head which I found made it easier to tackle (one of Scott’s tips). Another he said he often does when marathon training is counting things like puddles I didn’t do this, however I found having a nosey at people’s houses helped! I saw a lovely five-bed new build detached with a paddock adjoining!
The second water stop was about 8-mile where I walked for about five-metres mainly to get a bit of water drank without spilling from a plastic cup all down me. Mile 8.5-9.5ish was named the “mad mile” a steep uphill climb, and in my head I was thinking it was just like Pool Bank which I have managed to run all the way before.
Some off the route from mile 10 we had already run on the way out and even though I knew some of the roads I had never covered this distance before. I had a gel at about 11-miles and as it was the first time I’d used one was hoping for an energy rush to get me through the last couple of miles to the end. This never came but wasn’t as tough on the legs as I had anticipated.
As I came round the final bend I could see the finish line in sight, there were lots of Otley AC members cheering me over the line (thanks for that everyone!). I managed one-second below my target time in 2:09:59.
I would like to say that was down to good pacing; more fluke. Scott, unfortunately, wasn’t able to see me cross the line of my first half-marathon as he had to go for the prize ceremony for finishing second male where he picked up his trophy of a fruit bowl (or maybe a punch bowl, more likely in our house!).
The Otley boys also won first male team. Well done also to everyone else that completed, you were all amazing, I am very proud to be part of the team!
The race was won by Matthew Pierson (Holmfirth Harriers) in 1:13:28 and first lady was Myra Jones (Valley Striders) in 1:30:11.
Also for the magnificent Black & Whites, Tom Midgeley 14th, 1:22:32, Richard Smith 30th, 1:26:15, Tom Potter 66th, 1:32:09, Andy Ackroyd 168th, 1:43:49, Howard Jeffery 187th 1:45:42, Jackie Ackroyd 247th 1:52:21, Tom Hannah 300th 1:59:13, Jane Butler 305th 1:59:43, Dave Hainsworth 326th 2:01:43, Billy Rayner 337th, 2:02:59, Sara Richard 361st 2:05:58, Gemma Louise Harrington 2:09:59.
The full results are here.