Report from Howard Jeffrey
When is Howard going to write one of his encouraging and entertaining reports I hear you ask. I don’t know either but in the meantime, here is the report from only my second ‘race’ of this year but what must be about my thirtieth Jolly Holly Jog.
I wanted to complete this race to try and stimulate some motivation for next year which has been missing for the last couple of years, a bit like most of the races. I have tried to keep the cardio going on the turbo as each time I have begun to feel good running, some warning niggle has manifested itself and you all know what I mean because you run too. Anyway, I sallied forth to do Wetherby parkrun which is wet grass 10 days ago and I got round comfortably. Have not put on running shoes again until today, they recommended trail shoes as it was likely to be muddy. I also donned my new Heart rate monitor that Father Christmas brought me. I never put too much store in them, as back in the day when they first came out, they just slowed me down. I decided to give them another try as I have continued to slow down, even without wearing one!
The race was fully booked up with 690 finishers and the damp greyness had worn off a bit by the start at 11.00. I was going to station myself at the very back but given the crowd and the confines of the starting area and field I decided to move forward a bit as this was not new to me but there were some first timers out there. I also had a soft target of ‘an hour would be nice’. The start was sounded and not much happened where I was, for the best part of a minute and then very slowly we shuffled forward. I was tickled by the shouts of ‘ well done’ from the cheering onlookers after we had jogged about ten yards. The first patch of mud after thirty more yards gave a taste of things to come. On a few more yards and then all stop to negotiate a very narrow exit from the field. No metre spacing here so I am keeping my fingers crossed. Through there and onto the made road going up for a mile or so before turning onto a mudfest of a field, going up then a nice descent towards the bridge across the stream just beyond mile two.
There were a few fallers on the stony pathways because it’s one thing having the right shoes it’s another putting your feet on the solid stuff when it is hidden 6 inches below. I have got into a reasonable rhythm and have been steadily passing people and got my heart rate up to a sensible, sustainable level. Across the bridge and the route ( which is new and slightly different this year) goes up again and over wet grass and muddy track. The further back in the field you are the muddier it becomes. I had gone through mile one in 11+ minutes, mile two in 21+, mile three in 31+ so ‘an hour would be nice’ started to look doable and I was now nicely warmed up.
The route follows the tarmac road down from Fountains towards Studley Royal where a few cars had to be avoided and some cattle grids negotiated, a right turn and back uphill on another made road towards ‘Devil’s Chimney’ which is approached down a steep, stony path to a single file narrow bridge, back across the stream. My least favourite part of the course is then up a very steep treacherous path, fortunately sloths would have found the going slow, turning sharply and continuing up to then go back down the first muddy hill. I actually found it more difficult going down the muddy slope because by now it was well churned up. At the bottom it is back onto the made road for a luxurious descent for the best part of a mile. I overtook a couple of guys who were likely in my age group going down the hill and I was feeling a bit like my old self, even though there is currently a bit more of me, than once there was. At the bottom of the hill there is a sharp hairpin back towards the start and a couple of people started to push on prematurely thinking the finish was near. The sting in the tail was a long muddy loop round the fields to approach the finish from the other side. I hung on to a couple of people to the last 50 yards or so then kicked for the finish. I felt great and imagined I looked it, just hope the actual truth is not captured on video.
The race was won by Mike Burrett of Leeds AC in 36.45.
First lady Sharon Barlow of Harrogate AC in 16th place in 41.41
Otley AC finishers: Special mention to John Armitstead 1st o/60.
Andrew Mcdonnell 95th 48.35
John Armitstead 106th, 49.20
Andy Webster 185th, 53.57
Carol Armitstead 292nd, 58.48
James Dobson 317th, 1.00.03
Catherine Dobson 323rd, 1.00.24
Howard Jeffrey 330th, 1.00.44
Emma Thomson 449th, 1.07.19
Had I not stopped at the field exit, I reckon an hour would have been pretty close. Also not sure about the finish order being in chip times rather than gun times which used to be the only way. I know there is a logic to recording your actual time but you are no longer racing those around you and I have no idea who I raced to the finish at the end as they ended up miles ahead or miles behind in the results.