Report from Howard:
Another club target race saw 6 Otley AC ladies outnumber Billy and I for the Norton 9. This is usually a stiff test at this time of year and I think the others will confirm that is what it was again. The temperature never got above 5 degrees and the rain started at exactly 10 am as the race started. Not too much however and the wind was not particularly bad although I was aware of it in the latter half of the race. Today I wanted to get back to the feel of sub 7 minute miling if possible. I lined up close to the front and at the gun set off at a pace I thought I could sustain. This was helped by the fact the first half mile or so was downhill. A tight right up a slight incline which becomes the sting in the tail as we pass the turn off to the finish. First mile in 6.30 and feeling good. The route is fairly level to mile 2 and through there in 13.03 still feeling good. The Norton 9 is held on this route on this Sunday every year so surprisingly some bright spark had arranged a cycling sportif to come in the opposite direction at the same time. They are all racing too and it’s a public road so there were some frantic alarm calls from the runners ahead. We continued to cross paths with cyclists for the next two or three miles and some of them thought they were doing the Tour de France as they were on the right hand side of the road. I hope there were no mishaps behind and the road eventually became clear again. The route is circular through undulating countryside and the next uphill bit is between three and four. I got to 4 in 27.10, still feeling OK but the average rate beginning to slow. Some nice descents and some long inclines added variety to the course and between 7 and 8 a testing hill into a bit of a breeze and I got to 8 in 56.15 so not far off 7 minute pace and almost a mile of downhill and then the right turn up to the finish on the field. I crossed the line 89th in 63.42 chip time so just outside 7 pace but OK considering the conditions and profile of the route and the lack of recent hard races or speed training. Pleased to have felt so comfortable at 6.30 pace so need to work on stringing ten of them together to be able to contest the age group every race. A total of 525 finished in a sell-out race which was won in 49.52 by Gregan Clarkson of Kingston/Hull AC. Faye Banks of Pontefract AC was first lady in 55.04 and Otley results (some PB’s over 9 miles surely?)
And from Laura Hind:
Unfortunately the sun didn’t follow the Otley 8 down the A1 to Norton 9, but it was a good day out for the runners nonetheless! Fairly quiet country lanes, with the exception of some arrogant cyclists, made for good racing conditions and with only two hills, led to some super performances. Marshalling was great; they thought we’d brought a busload – maybe we just seemed more numerous than we really were – perhaps Hannah was louder than normal, or the frontrunners for Otley were flashing by so quickly, they appeared in duplicate!
Howard, our resident racing snake, put in his weekly appearance to finish first for OAC in 1:03:42. Sara Elliott, on a ‘tempo run’, delivered a fine time of 1:08:17, followed by , Liz Yates, 1:13:33, El Presidente in 1:15:37, Ann Yeadon 1:16:25 (PB), Laura Hind 1:17:32 (PB), Joanna Hobson, 1:22:13 and Hannah Lupton, making her return to the road in 1:22:55. The race was won in a time of 49:52 by Gregan Clarkson of Kingston-upon-Hull AC and first lady, Faye Banks of Pontefract AC in 55:04.
The race finished, we were treated to an extra weights session in the car park, helping people to escape the quagmire it had become due to recent rain! Back to Otley for coffee and cake – a very enjoyable racing experience!