Report from Howard:
I think I have previously recorded that in my early running career I raced so hard my teeth would hurt at the finish. Although last week at Dewsbury I had not raced that hard but my teeth (or to be more precise a wisdom tooth), did hurt. So much so I had an ‘emergency’ extraction on Wednesday. That coupled with a thick head cold…moan, moan, (the moan factor increases logarithmically after the age of 40) meant I was languishing for most of the week. On the bright side the rest had done me good so taking note of the dire weather warnings but then ignoring them turned up at the start. Glorious clear sunshine, no breeze although a nip in the air, perfect conditions. I had intended to do this half (the 21st rendition) to ‘get the distance in’ since I think my last half was Leeds in May. This one is pretty hilly with only two level stretches around miles 6 and 8. So a tricky one to pace consistently but a rate of 8 minute miling ought to get me in around 1.45.00 so that was the target for today. I lined up and chatted with fellow black and whites and we were suddenly off. The start is quite narrow so you have to go with the flow till it opens up a bit after a few hundred yards. At 200 yards a lady getting carried away at the start tried to barge me out of the way and with nowhere to go I kept my ground. She said sorry and then said there was no need to push!! Er… Yeh. Anyway off she shot for about half a mile till we got to the downhill…blown!
The first mile and a half can draw the unsuspecting into a false sense of pace. It is a lovely downhill stretch which is great for warming up so I used it for that. You all then turn onto the Huddersfield road and it drags up, not too steeply with a short downhill stretch, to Windy Bank Lane (which says it all… although not today) cross the motorway (M62) at mile 4. You are then at Hartshead Moor top and there is a fabulous (if you like downhill) descent for another mile and a half to the mile of level. The route was changed a few years ago and although the hill up to mile 7 is a tester it is ‘easy’ compared to the previous hill. A chance to recover a bit around 8 miles and beyond then another taxing hill along Highmoor Lane! The ten mile mark is again on the same motorway bridge crossing and a turn back onto Windy Bank hill in the opposite direction. There is a right turn opposite where we joined earlier in the race and from this bit of the road we were rewarded with a fantastic vista of the sunlit hills. I normally don’t have much spare energy to enjoy the view but today I did and it was great to be part of it. I don’t know if anyone else noticed but at mile 12 the air was fresh with spring and it was truly invigorating. Normally in this race I am flagging and hanging on to the finish which is uphill for most of the last mile. Today I had managed the 8 minute mile pace all the way so today it felt very comfortable. I got to the finish in 1.45.12 (it took me a few seconds to get to the chip matt) in 198th place out of 483 finishers. The race was won by Joe Sagar of Spenborough AC in 1.13.39. I do suspect ‘Martin Hall of Spenborough AC’ to be our very own Mark Hall ‘incognito’ as first MV55 in 8th place in 1.20.22 (correct me if I am wrong but to be incognito you need to go much slower!!) Julian Mawson in 12th first MV45 in 1.22.52. Jenny Latham of Wakefield Harriers was first lady home in 1.24.41 in 23rd. Sara Elliott in 1.48.20 in 227th and Garry Cochrane in 298th place in 1.54.38