Report from Howard Jeffrey:
Yesterday I turned up at Cross Flatts to do the parkrun as part of the Leeds race series (they are not supposed to be races are they?) only to find the Beeston show being set up. Some mistake somewhere. I had arrived in good time and was able to go to Woodhouse moor to do that one as I was all psyched up to run hard. Not the best prep for today’s race but then I intended to take it steady in the heat and treat it as a training run. I have done this one many times and the course is tough and it is usually quite hot. The start went and we left the school playground taking a sharp right down a short hill then left up a short sharp grassy incline. I had stationed myself quite close to the front because just after 1K you previously had the choice of fording the stream or taking the single file bridge over it. Today you were all obliged to take the bridge in case your feet fell off in the stream and got washed away. This could have been a pinch point with a potentially long delay if you were deep in the field. The stream of course is at the bottom of the first hill and I was able to scoot past a number of runners and was over the bridge without too much delay. You all then climb up the other side and take a left onto a couple of kilometres of parched dusty track. The field was full of vociferous sheep cheering us on and a la Tour de France some of them wanted to interfere with the runners. I thought I was going to have to hurdle a couple but you know what sheep are like..woolly chickens, and they bottled out before me. I found a steady rhythm at about 4.40 pace and steadily passed those who had zoomed off too quick. The heat had not even yet begun to take its toll. The route descends to a right turn up a tarmac road and then over a field to a tricky, stony, rooty descent through a shady (nice) wood. You had to take care that your feet did not fall off again and if you made it to the bottom you were rewarded with a reasonable level stretch across short parched grass to the first drinks station at 5K. I think the temperature was probably about 25/6 degrees and was beginning to take its toll. I maintained my pace and steadily moved through the field. The route steadily rises through 6k and there is bit of shade available provided by the hedges and a few trees. Towards 7k you cross follow another dusty, stony footpath between fields to an additional drinks station just before 8K. I had to wait while the water cups were filled which was probably a good thing as I was able to dowse myself down with one and drink another and was primed to now chase down any rivals. There were quite a few Harrogate runners who made good targets and I steadily rolled past a number of them. I caught sight on Kevin in my age group who wilted in the heat at Melmerby and again here. I caught and passed him at 9K. I was a couple of minutes down on last year’s time and was 4th in my age group.
The race was won by Andrew Grant of Leeds City in 35.34. First lady 51st in 46.43. I was 64th in 47.58. 321 finished