Report from Howard:
The best preparation for the Norton 9 is probably not to run hard in a park run the day before. I did. Middleton Park was one of the Leeds race series and I went fired up to go head to head with another contender in the series. He was a no show but strangely enough did another park run two miles away! I suspect he would have had the drop on me so I got off lucky. Today the forecast was for bright sun with a stiff breeze and they were half right. A stiff breeze but overcast so quite chilly and a bit of a challenge over an undulating course. I looked for fellow Otleyensians who were on the start list but saw no-one at the start.
I have a motivational poster of Mohamed Ali in his prime for my turbo training and there is a caption waffling on about some stuff or other. Most of us will remember his maxim of ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’. Well today I ‘floated like a golf-ball and stung like a doughnut’! I had anticipated getting round in about 67 minutes and set off middle of the pack of the eventual 512 finishers. Today was really a long tempo run and I kept up a steady effort both up and down the inclines. A solid enough performance and I crossed the line in 1.06.56. Job done.
The race was won by Gareth Cooke of Penistone runners in 49.27, first lady was Faye Banks of Pontefract AC in 53.56 in 13th place and that is a cracking time ( I know because my best here is only marginally faster when I too floated like a butterfly!). I came 162nd and was sole Otley AC rep today.