Report from Mick Jeffrey
In a moment of madness I decided to enter this years Otley 10 before I get too old and decrepit. Training on a Tuesday night with Saras’ group had been going well and although my longest run this year has only been around 7/8 miles I was confident of finishing if only through Yorkshire grit and muscle memory. My last race of significance was the Eccup 10 in 2018 where I recorded a pedestrian 89+ minutes.
The weather seemed kind at the start, cooler than of late and overcast. Those that know me know I don’t do heat and hills. I was to be set off with a group of 4 ladies and 1 other gent. My pre race mantra is ‘don’t set off too fast, don’t set off too fast’. I hoped I could tuck in behind the ladies at a sensible pace ready for Stainburn bank. At the off the male hared off and I found myself working harder than expected to keep up with the ladies. I also got very hot and yes as usual I had set off too fast. They all gently pulled away from me despite my best efforts.
I got to the bottom of Stainburn bank in just under 8 minute miling pace ( to paraphrase Naomi Campbell, once upon a time I wouldn’t get out of bed if I couldn’t do less than 6 minute miling) I looked up and saw a figure a few hundred yards ahead and I wondered if I could catch him. I actually went better up the hill than expected and caught him just as we turned at the top of the hill on the road back down .A nice mile downhill and then over the bridge by the trout farm ready for the long drag up to the old Farnley primary school. I found myself mutttering ‘come on Mick, come on Mick’ at the steepest part.
Back on the road back down to Otley I tried picking up the pace a bit but my calves started cramping badly and forced me to ease up. I started being passed by several runners now. Coming back down Boroughgate I heard people shouting ‘come on Otley’ which I duly acknowledged and then almost immediately the same shout of ‘Come on Otley’. Surely not. The only other Otley ac entrant started 10 minutes behind me! Yes. Hayley Thompson passed me like a train.
Nearly home. I envisaged a final sprint finish lap of the cricket pitch but found myself on auto-trudge but hey I finished. My time was 82.50(ish) Perhaps I should have rested on my laurels. I have been known to tell anyone prepared to listen that I did the same race (full distance!) in 58-50 in 1993 aged 41. A fact of which makes me both immensely proud and an insufferable braggart. Happily I was first in my age category but then there was only one other runner in the same category. As I always say it’s not the taking part that counts it’s the winning!
I checked my fitbit later and my heartrate was a fairly even 173/175 and as my maximum heart rate now is 178 I couldn’t have done more. Many thanks to Ian for his approval of my entry and for all the encouragement of fellow members out on the course. I was planning on doing it next year when I’m 70 but what’s the fun in winning if there’s only you in that category.
Hosta la vista baby, I’ll be back