Report from Howard Jeffrey
Another race in the Leeds race series for me so a must do. It was touch and go whether I would make the start line as on Friday I was ailing quite badly with URT problems. Got the remedies from the doctor and fingers crossed for them to kick in quickly. I would not really know till the race got underway.
Good to meet up with Sara again prior to the race and talk tactics for dealing with the likely scorching weather. Later also with Vicky and Joseph coming in from the fells to tip their lances on the road. I had forgotten this race was also the YVAA 10 mile championships but my goal today was to go steady and just finish.
At the start Sara was under strict instructions to stay behind me for the first mile or so to ease into the race which is a long way in the heat. I set the metronome in my head for 7.30 pace and the start was well congested but nicely descending for the first half mile in the shade for compensation. I went through mile 1 in 7.31 so a good start. The route of this race has a testing mix of ups and downs with long level stretches, some in shade some not. I had settled into a solid rhythm and maintained 7.30’s to halfway and felt OK.
Took advantage of shade wherever possible and although it got hot I was not aware of the heat beating back off the tarmac which it has done in previous years (later start?). Other runners began to slow and I made steady progress through the field and at mile 7 still on 7.30’s I started to think about where the rivals might be.
The first I saw was Ken who has overtaken me in the last mile of a couple of recent races. As I slowly reigned him in I saw another struggling, Kevin, another who had a couple of minutes on me in recent races. It felt good to go past him and got close enough to ‘Ken’ to realise it was not him! Same club vest, same sun cap. But all is not lost was that not the real Ken struggling up the next hill? You bet it was! So I set off in hard pursuit. No need for the kind offer of Jelly babies from Kath and Jack (thanks).
I have been doing some cycling sprint drills as part of some research at Leeds Beckett University and when I upped the leg speed up the hill it felt easy peasy. Caught up Ken at the top of the hill and no doubt he was expecting the usual result as he turned the gas back on and tried to shake me off. I still felt good and tucked in behind with the intent to turn the tables on him today. We got to the bottom of the last hill about 500 yards from the finish and I kicked hard up the hill since that was where he was struggling and I had new found talent. Thought I was going to pay for it at the top of the hill as the finish was nowhere to be seen! Oops! I throttled back a bit to prepare for a last ditch stretch to the finish but Ken was gone. They don’t call me Barbie! The only other potential rival in sight I knew to be in the next age group so crossed the line in 75.41.
When I looked at the results I was surprised to have come second in the age group so in the prizes, as well as the Yorkshire Vets Championships, hope they post them out.
The race was won by John Hobbs of Valley Striders in 55.16, First lady Sharon Barlow of Harrogate Harriers in 24th place. Otley contingent were Joseph Torr 30th in 64.47, Victoria Stainburn 86th in 71.15, Howard J 142nd in 75.41, Sara Elliot 185th in 78.27 and Debra Brown 737th in 2.01.03. There were 764 finishers in the sell out race.
My next races are Cross Flatts parkrun as part of the Leeds race series on Saturday where I hope to clinch the category and then next Wednesday the World age group Aquathlon championships (750m swim, 5K run) in Denmark. How do you get there you may ask. By being the current English age group champion.