Sunday 29th September – Kirkstall 7

Sunday 29th September – Kirkstall 7

Report from Howard Jeffreys

We escaped the deluge that engulfed the world championship elite men’s cycle race and the conditions were pretty good for the race which kicked off at 10.00 O’clock. The rain overnight had swelled an already swollen river so in parts on the trail sections a sloping six inch strip of mud was the only passable part of the path. The conditions underfoot made for generally slower times all round than last year. Today I was not aiming for a particular time but this was another race in the Leeds race series so I was fired up to go head to head with Ken Fox again as I am still in the M60 category for that series of races despite being now M65. My training has been going quite well for a month or so now and I tapered during the week to give it my all today. Out for a short jog on Thursday I was either stung or bitten by a fly sent by the devil to strike me down. I did not see what it was but it felt dis-proportionally painful. Thought nothing much more till Friday morning when I woke with an itchy arm. It was also red hot and swollen. Best watch that I thought so I marked the swelling limit with a pen and went for a swim. After an hour the swelling was an inch beyond the mark. I googled cellulitis and after seeing the words, ‘fatal, amputations, react quick as you can’. rang the GP. Explained to reception who said they had no appointments left for today. I just said Ah…….. What’s your date of birth? Obviously some advantage to advancing years as after a word with the doctor was told to come now. Doc took one look at the arm which now resembled Popeye’s forearm and said I don’t think you need to go to hospital immediately but you better take these antibiotics as of now and if it has not started to subside in a couple of days come back.

   Anyway back to the race. Watched a bit of the athletics in Doha I had recorded yesterday and felt pumped up, confident and ready to lock on the race head. Don’t know if it was the adrenaline surge or the horse cure antbios but I suddenly felt quite sick. Oh no I am going into the fray hamstrung! There were one or two rivals at the start who’s recent results had been a bit suspect ( I checked) but then so have mine and today I felt I had some form going into it. The gun went and decision time was either to sit in behind or go for it from in front. I had warmed up quite well so set off at a pace I would have been happy with 20 years ago. Go for broke or blow up trying was the order of the day. Round Kirkstall Abbey then out of the grounds on to footpath along the A65. It is quite a grind up a long low climb but I felt OK so settled into a good rhythm overtaking other runners all the way up to a tight left that goes up and down cobbles back towards the river. Past the two mile mark and still feeling good. Along a bit of tarmac and then more cobbles and some steps up to the canal. Took a sneaky look back and no M60 rivals in sight but the M65 not too far behind at this point. The route then follows along the bank of the canal for the best part of a mile and a half so taking inspiration from the athletics pushed hard to make catching me up a painful challenge for anyone else. A hard right off the canal and a drop down to run alongside the river again along the path I described in the introduction. Caught up a lady who was going a bit slower now but because it was unsafe to pass took advantage of a half mile or so of recovery pace. Between four and five miles the route goes up a steep grassy field with a slippery mud where I was able to overtake and work hard up the hill. Trail shoes were the right choice as the grip was good. Started to feel the effort at the top and it took a while to get the legs going again but it was downhill along a narrow stony path again so took another recovery breather. At 5 the route kicks up back to rejoin the tarmac road that had led us towards the canal and then a bit of up and down and back up to the A65. A bit of a grind up to mile 6 but I have second wind and am up on my toes feeling strong again. The last mile is all downhill to the finish next to the Abbey and I am first M65 by 3 minutes and 5 minutes and more ahead of rivals in the Leeds race series.
The race was won by Nathan Edmonson of Ilkley in 39.15, first lady was Faye Birkby of Pudsey Pacers 12th overall in 45.12.. I was 77th in 53.42, 347 finished. Fellow Otley AC runners were: Megan McCall 201st in 1.06.19, Sara Richard 243rd in 1.08.48 and Catherine Dobson 247th in 1.09.26

One thought on “Sunday 29th September – Kirkstall 7

  1. In the past I used to do the Kirkstall 10k when it used to be a road race and I did not like last few miles on the A65 . The report is really good , it is on of the best of 2019 . Howard J. did a brilliant 7 mile , beating again the rival Ken F , Howard crossed the finish line in a powerful 53. 42 . Megan M. did well too finishing in a solid 1.06 , a strong time to do . Sara R. did a good race as well finishing in a robust 1.08 . Also Catherine D. had a great morning in Leeds crossing the finish line in 1.09 it is a consistent run .

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