Cheating on the Leighton 10

by Jo Sharples


Anyone who knows me, knows my love of the Leighton 10. But after hitting ‘a wall’ 10 miles in on my last couple of half marathons, I decided I also loved 10 mile races. So even though it felt a little bit like cheating, I entered the Fred Hughes 10.

I was a solo LBACer at the Fred Hughes 10 on 24th January. I would say the race offers an undulating (some may say hilly) and scenic route around St Albans. The race being hosted by St Albans Striders always gets their quick runners out and this year it was also the Hertfordshire county championships, so it proved to be a competitive field.

And so it began… the start/finish was along a very narrow path which was filled with a LOT of yellow and blue St Albans Striders vests, some with rather pointy elbows. After battling up the first climb the field evened out. The course is very up and down but is basically 2 laps; each lap having 2 short climbs and one longer one. My legs were pretty achy from mile 1, (I think marathon training is already kicking in!) but I had decided that the quicker I ran the quicker it was over. I also really wanted to drop a Watford runner whose phone kept updating everyone in his vicinity with his current pace in an annoying unisex, robotic, monotone voice! And being a runner who only checks their watch in the last few miles (so I don’t psych myself out) this was not helpful.

The race was won in 53.01min and 60.26min for men and ladies respectively. My finishing time of 70.12min got me 12th lady and 5th in my age category, but I was more pleased that it was an improvement of last year’s time and a PB.

I do enjoy this race, the marshals are always very enthusiastic and they normally provide good T-shirts. However this year, whoever was organising must have chosen after one glass too many and we were given a fleecy “snood/buff” in replacement of a T-shirt. To add to the fun, the medal doubled as a bottle opener… useful for those post race celebratory drinks…. I think! I do however think that they needed more marshals at the busy traffic points, I can honestly say that LBAC put them to shame. Also the start/finish is on a very narrow, suboptimal path which makes the sprint finish even more exciting, some may say. But I shouldn’t be complaining as I got a PB, and at least once I’d finished there was a nice snood waiting for me.


I do love 10 miles but I’m sorry Mr Fred Hughes you can’t beat the Leighton 10!