Report from Howard Jeffery: I had to rest my hamstring for another week after quite a solid Roundhay park run. Did the usual routine of stretching and massage and by Friday was fairly limber again. I had an entry for the Leeds Christmas Challenge 10k which I had done well at last year. When Mick asked on Saturday if I were injured because I had not done a Parkrun I said not really and I was racing Sunday. Given the relentless rain I thought the course would be a wash-out so I thought I was going to give it a miss. It is not the cold, mud and wet that deters me from cross country or difficult conditions, it is the heightened risk of injury. These seem to come even when conditions are perfect, it is we who are not!
Anyway, I was up with the lark on Sunday to walk the dog and the sky was clear and it was great conditions. So maybe……Strapped on some magic tape and after a thorough warm up, lined up on the track at the John Charles centre for the start of the 10k. Surprisingly popular for a low key race (354 finishers) and now with chip timing. There was salt on a few frozen damp patches on the track and a little bit of mud on the grass and up the steps to the bottom of the hill we have to go up three times. The water must have all run off the hill as the track up through the woods was only slightly tacky. What goes up three times must also come down which I enjoy. The tarmac descent had one dodgy bit where a tree had fallen and we were diverted onto some mud around it. A last leg on a narrow trail with a lot of puddles and a nice grandstand finish on the track.
No-one apparently in my age category to really race this year so I ended up pacing a lady round to a pb which she was well pleased with as the course is worth a couple of minutes or three. I was 10% slower than last year, not surprising since I have not really trained for running since August. The race is well organised with a nice attention to detail and this year was won by Ben Douglas, Notts AC in 34.27, first lady in 19th, Joanna Winks of Halifax Harriers & AC in 41.56. I was 42nd in 46.57, sole Black and White, 1st o/60 and was well rewarded with mince pies, a T shirt, (for all) a trophy, voucher and a bottle of wine. I suppose best of all, no problem with the hamstring!!