Leeds Abbey Dash
This is a very popular race, not least amongst North York Moors athletes and we had 19 club members taking part this year. Another early start with Eddie Meehan picking me up at the unearthly hour of 7:10 before heading onto Nunthorpe to pick up Doug Welsh who was coming to cheer us along before heading over to Filey with Eddie to do the cross country race. Unfortunately, Doug had gone down with cold so turned up just to tell us he was giving it a miss.
After problems with Eddie’s Sat Nav, I managed to help guide Eddie into Leeds. This will come as a surprise to some given the stick I get for my sense of direction! Due to road closures around the race route, we couldn’t get to the car park that Eddie was hoping for, so just found ourselves a private long-stay car park less than half a mile from the start which proved to be ideal.
Although overcast, with hardly any wind (unlike Scarborough a fortnight earlier) and a temperature of 8 degrees Celsius, conditions were perfect. After warming up and getting to the start area, I found myself near the back of the sub-45 pen. It was here that I bumped into club-mate Ellis Hutchinson and rather than try and push myself further forward, thought I’d stay here as Ellis and I are similar in abilities. Starting a bit further back than we’d both have ideally liked didn’t prove to me too much of a hindrance as I completed the first km in 4:06. The second was done in a similar time. Just after the first km, I could see myself gaining on Martin Luxton, calling out to him “Mr Chairman”. He asked me where Eddie was and I replied “About a few hundred yards up ahead!”. The 3rd km was a bit slower (4:15) as we meandered our way through a retail park. The start point and this part of the route had been changed to allow them to accommodate more runners. As we set off out towards Kirkstall Abbey, I found myself in a nice comfortable rhythm and as we went along an undulating stretch between 4 and 5k, I reached the turnaround point in 20:50, 10s up on my PB set on this course last year.
I managed to keep going at a decent pace and overtook club-mates Paul Bainbridge and Catherine McShane at around 5.5k and 6k respectively, each time giving them a bit of encouragement as I knew they were both aiming for PBs. My split times continued to stay around or below 4 mins, so I knew I just had to keep it going and just kept passing as many people as possible, including club-mates Eddie Meehan at 7k and Barry Dunne near 9k. It was here that Barry and I got some encouragement of “Go on NYMAC!”, which I think may have been Rachel Hodge who said she was coming out to cheer us on. Barry himself gave me a few words of encouragement as I edged past him. Hitting the 9k mark in around 36:45, the PB and a sub-41 was definitely on. With less than half a mile to go, you hit a bit of an incline and thankfully, I still had enough in me to dig in. As we got to the top of the incline, there’s a downhill bit on a bend and I was able to gather a bit of pace along here. As you come out of this stretch, you are able to see the finish just a couple of hundred or so yards up ahead which is quite a relief. One last big effort up to the finish line and glancing at my watch, a time of 40:37 (officially 40:36) – my PB well and truly hammered, knocking 41 seconds off last year’s time in this race.
There were some great performances from club members, the highlight of which was of course Matty Hynes winning the race, taking over 30s off his 10k road PB and more importantly, being crowned English 10k road race champion for 2013, breaking the course record in the process. Richard Fawcett took a minute off his PB, finishing in 35:36. Jeff Belt, Dave Aaron and Darren Clements all achieved sub-40 times, Paul Bainbridge destroyed his PB by over 80s, set at Scarborough only a fortnight earlier, finishing in 44:37 (2 PBs in two weeks is superb going), and Catherine McShane narrowly missed out on a PB by 5 seconds. I’m sure she’ll definitely go under 42 next year.
Results and photos can be found here: