Report from Howard Jeffrey.
I have been doing this race since it’s inception which is something like 27 years ago and my speeds have varied from gallop to canter to trot to walk, not yet had to be carried though. I wasn’t sure whether I would make the start today since I picked up a slight niggle in my left achilles a week or so ago when I was pushing it at a parkrun. I have been doing a whole range of remedials which I will not bore you with and tested it gently at a parkrun on Saturday. Yippee no problem, so was able to line up with 231 others who finished. I saw a number of people pull up.
The course has varied marginally over the years but has always been a challenge because of the course profile and terrain. Today we had the added delight of it being pretty hot as well. The course is effectively two laps and I thought if my achilles was complaining I could drop out after the first one. The approach to the start is usually pretty muddy, previously we had to run through this but the start was moved to higher drier ground a few years ago thankfully. The starter warned of a fallen tree to avoid and that there were puddles ‘lying around’ today. Never actually seen a puddle do anything else. I placed myself about halfway back in the field which I guessed was about the right place, bearing in mind today was going to be at the trot just to get round as part of an active recovery. Immediately after the start the track runs level for a short bit and then drops quite steeply down and is quite rutted and stony so you have to tread carefully. At the bottom there is a left turn up a narrow track that winds its way up and down through the woods, nice and cool here. A few of the leaders went astray at the bottom which is always a disappointment before one of the marshalls pointed the right way. A right turn onto a flat made up track with a couple of minor mud spots which for me is the easiest part of the route, although open to the bright sun so I was felling a bit overdressed in a long sleeved T. A water station at the end of the flat and a right turn up to a long steep grind up through the woods where it was nice and cool again.
This year there was a bottleneck with a gate on the track that was being held open by a marshall but only one person at a time could get through. Not great if you were racing but today I was glad of the respite. From the top the route is a bit of a switch back down the other side, past the fallen tree (slightly under whelming) and then onto a long descent toward s the 5k marker. Normally I would use the descent to bound down like Spring Heeled Jack but nothing to prove today so gingerly and carefully made the descent but still managed to overtake a couple of people who seemed lacking in confidence. At the 5k the route turns right again to rejoin the rutted stony track to do most of the same route again, except it’s a lot hotter and the hills are a lot steeper. After the long descent there is a left turn to a couple of stings in the tail as the track goes back up through the woods to a short sharp exposed uphill section across the field towards the finish. We were rewarded with some kind of brew in a bottle.
The race was won by Jack Cummings of Ilkley H in 33.57, first lady Annabel Mason of Wharfedale H in 46.24. I was pleasantly surprised to break the hour and was mid pack in 122nd place, with minimal ill effects. There were 13 from Otley today and I am sure admin can cut and paste their results because I don’t seem to be able to.
|1||1||Jack Cummings||MS||(001/016)||Ilkley Harriers||0:33:57|
|26||1||Annabel Mason||FS||(001/016)||Wharfedale H||0:46:24|
|11||11||Graham Lake||M45||(001/016)||Otley AC||0:42:21|
|48||8||Sara Elliott||F50||(002/011)||Otley AC||0:50:17|
|77||14||Verity Glover||FS||(005/016)||Otley AC||0:53:54|
|108||22||Fiona Marcantonio-Jones||F35||(003/010)||Otley AC||0:57:50|
|111||87||Gordon Turley||M45||(012/016)||Otley AC||0:58:12|
|117||90||Matt Podd||M60||(008/010)||Otley AC||0:58:51|
|122||92||Howard Jeffrey||M65||(003/010)||Otley AC||0:59:09|
|151||107||Colin Best||M65||(005/010)||Otley AC||1:02:22|
|159||52||Chris Brunold||F55||(005/010)||Otley AC||1:03:08|
|160||53||Nicola Swann||F45||(019/026)||Otley AC||1:03:14|
|177||65||Helen Hey||F50||(009/011)||Otley AC||1:05:16|
|191||76||Sara Richard||F50||(010/011)||Otley AC||1:07:31|
|222||98||Rachel Michael||F40||(015/015)||Otley AC||1:16:19|