Report from Howard ‘the bard’ Jeffrey
I now count writer’s block as a running injury and have been resting and recuperating from my regular race report contributions for a while and am pleased to see there have been plenty of interesting reports to keep you all amused.
As a prelude to the BL 10K which many club members will remember as one of the core Black Sheep race series (still lamented) I did the hard and hilly Temple Newsam park run as hard as I could, the day before (21.44). This is to keep me in the chase in the Leeds race series and was pleased to see Tom Potter who has been out for a while. Suitably sapped I lined up on Sunday for the BL10K. No other Otley runners here today so had to take on mainly Harrogate rivals in the age category alone. Had just beaten Tim Broomfield at Burn Valley half last week but had trailed in behind Kevin Murphy by 4 minutes despite a strong finish. Today there was also Geoff King, a very good fell runner who had been minutes ahead at this race last year. 309 people lined up at the start which is quite congested out of the primary school sharp right down a short hill then a hairpin up a steep grassy slope of 150m to the first stretch of tarmac. Geoff King was already long gone but I passed Tim up the grassy slope which was unusual as I usually catch him at about mile one. One down. Kevin Murphy had also disappeared into the distance so it was relax and see how much was left in the legs from yesterday. The race started at 11.00 and the sun was intermittent but it did get quite hot even along the first bit of tarmac which is nicely downhill to a stream across the road. Decisions, decisions, short queue for the bridge or splash through the ford? I opted to take the ford and the water was so shallow I never even got my feet wet!
Next stretch is up a concrete farm roadway going up to another stretch of tarmac road. Went through mile one in 6.35, ridiculous but felt OK. The road turns sharp right but we head off straight onto a rutted stony farm track for about a mile of gradual climbing a sharp descent to a right hander up a gravel track and then down through the woods on a very rutted path so watch your step! Another sharp right at the bottom onto a field of long grass to halfway and the water station, not before time as it has become very warm. I had caught Kevin Murphy and dived passed to show him how to run fast down through the woods. Two down. The route comes off the grass back onto the road and there is a tough slog gradually rising which gives way to a rolling single track across the hills beneath the blazing sun. Still managing to overtake runners along the track and we are then back onto tarmac for a mile of blissful downhill, sharp left back onto the concrete roadway, opted for the bridge across the ford. Then up a wearisome climb which levels off for 400 yards before the top of the grass bank down to the hairpin and left back into the school. The race was won by Andrew Grant of Harrogate Harriers in 33.58. First lady in 34th was Donna Riddler in 43.27 and I was 59th in 45.50, only 20 seconds slower than last year surprisingly.