Report from Howard:
Another club target race and another report from yours truly. I have been doing this one which is on Easter Sunday for many years. I don’t know why because it is tough, across terrain and profile that I normally steer clear of. I guess back in the day it was a Valley Striders grand prix race so I have just stuck with it and have had a wide range of performances depending on my level of fitness. Today I was feeling OK after a steady week. It took till Thursday of last week to recover from the Vale of York 10, my calves were complaining. Maybe because I had not worn my calf protectors, who knows? Anyway I had them on today just in case and also a long sleeved T shirt under the vest. I had checked and double checked the weather forecast and it was for rain and ‘feels like 6 degrees’ which is a bit on the cool side. I am tapering for the European Duathlon championships in Spain in two weeks so on Friday I replaced the hill work (which I was going to get today) with mile reps, only three of them. I cycled up to Wetherby yesterday and did the park run steadily and rode back but the wind was a bit stiff so a harder workout than I had planned. Still, I felt OK enough this morning, warmed up adequately and anticipated a better time than last year where I had been a minute off the category pace. I thought 45 minutes would be the mark today (I did 49.39 last year) and I guessed I could do 46 or so today.
The rain held off but I was glad of the T shirt even though I rolled up the sleeves at the start (I meant business!). Three or four rows back from the front, so as not to give away any advantage to rivals, most of whom I suspected would be from Harrogate AC today. There was a brief introduction and we were off. The stony track goes down quite steeply from the start and you have to watch your step. After a few hundred metres there is a sharp left turn up and down through woods but the trip hazards had thankfully been picked out in yellow marker paint. The path was well trodden and pretty dry and I had the right trail shoes for the terrain. There were maybe a dozen Harrogate vests in front two of whom I knew to be category rivals and I passed one at the left turn and caught the other along the level path towards the 2K point. At this juncture I was overtaken by a runner from Huncote (near Leicester) who looked worryingly close to my age. I was able to tuck in behind and at the end of the level stretch we turn right up a quite steep and difficult climb up through the woods again, which just when you think it is over, it climbs up some more. At maybe 4k ish it takes a turn for the better and there is a nice, albeit stony, mind the ankles, descent towards a 5K marker, where you take a sharp right and go round the lap again. I had passed on the descent and remained in front of the Huncote guy till we got about half way along the level path again and he was obviously racing me which is good. We passed another Harrogate AC runner who was in the age group so I was guessing I was now in second place. I laboured up the hill the second time and could not stay within kicking distance of the chap from Huncote. He shook hands at the end and said he had not had to work so hard for a while which was good and he was worried I might be an o/55, which I am of course but he was not o/60 so maybe I had snuck the win after all. There were a lot of lean grey athletes already finished so it was hard to tell how old any-one was. I did see Ben Grant (an ex international with Harrogate AC) and he had finished in 43.08 at the ripe old age of 69! Respect. I was pleased with 46.58 in 90th position and I was first o/60 as there was an o/65 category too. It seems all my rivals are injured and I have been Ninja’d (not injured) as that is three in a row. The race was won by Connor Craig-Jackson in 35.39 of Skyrac AC and first lady Rachel Pilling of Pudsey and Bramley AC 39th position in 42.50. 471 finished. Fellow Otliensians as follows:
Pos “Num”M”F “Name”Cat “CatPos”Club “Time 13 581 013 Robin Outtersides MS (009/099) Otley AC 00:39:41 90 251 079 Howard Jeffrey M60 (001/018) Otley AC 00:46:58 193 146 034 Sara Elliott F45 (007/032) Otley AC 00:52:19 212 539 037 Nicola Lee F35 (007/032) Otley AC 00:53:19 230 354 183 Hugh Pearson M55 (024/037) Otley AC 00:54:17 343 160 251 Rob Fearnley MS (086/099) Otley AC 00:59:19 381 375 112 Sara Richard F45 (021/032) Otley AC 01:01:02
Also Sean O’Halloran (Kirkstall Harriers) in 431st in 1.05.33