Leeds Abbey Dash 10k

By Maria Williams

Well, like the true athletes that we are it was a steak meal and fairground rides in Campbell park the night before said race. With a whole five hours sleep, we set off in darkness along the M1. Our journey of two and a half hours flew by. It must have been all the bitter wind pushing us up the motorway.

We arrived in Leeds to find the car park we were told was a good place to park was closed. After one way streets and road closures, u turns on tight roads and turning right on a no right turn road, we found another car park. This one was filling up fast and the queue for the pay and display machine was bigger than a toilet queue at a the race. It was nearly my turn to put in my money when I realised I was 70 pence short, how embarrassing, though a kind man gave me a pound and I couldn’t thank him enough. Runners are great.

Black bin bag on to protect us from the cold and off we headed to look for the toilets at the start. People were queuing erratically all over the place so we popped along and joined them. Well after a man came out, in I went. His bowels must have been nervous.  I flew out of the porta-loo so quick everyone was laughing, it made me vomit. Great start, gagging all the way to the start I made it to the sub 50 pen and kissed Richard goodbye as he entered the sub 45 pen.

I made my way up through a few people and as we filtered our way through the stream of barriers we eventually started to jog, then walk, “Oh hang on” then off we go. Watch started and struggled to get some speed up for first 200 metres as people were warming up. As it opened up I could set pace and off I went. I had to weave for the first mile until we hit a shopping village where we ran around the car park area over the speed humps and then out onto the main road. I knew I had to keep an average pace of 7:25 to beat my pb.

Watching my watch I ran and it felt comfortable until I hit a small slow incline. I saw the lead runners at this point running down. “Wow” I thought, they have names on their numbers. I continued to run knowing I had to make the 5k turn around in 23 mins. As I approached I saw Richard coming down the other side, he called out to me and we waved which spurred me on, I just made the turn around point realising I was close to just beating my 5k pb time. Now the hard work started I could feel my calf pulling, I groaned and moaned to myself. A male runner asked me if I was okay. I think I grunted to him. I couldn’t talk, this hurt, “running slower is more sociable” I thought.

I knew I needed to prove to myself that I can run this in sub 47. With gritted teeth I continued nearly being taken out by a lady who decided she needed to cross the road in front of us.By “us” I mean a big group of about 10 running together, not talking by the way, though we all found the energy to shout at the woman. Then there it was the hill. My watch ticked over 6 miles as I ran up the hill, knowing there was only a few metres left I sprinted. The course was long, I ran too early. Feeling like I was about to vomit I held on for a few more seconds and thank god the finish line arrived. Richard was waiting for me, smiling, I wanted to vomit.

Walking on, I was given a white lion bar, bottle of water and handed a T-shirt. Would I do it again? Yes I would. Oh, and I beat my pb coming in at 46.02 and Richard 41.01. Dam few seconds, if the course wasn’t long…. lol…..

Ed. – Additionally, Gail Duckworth, our club president also ran the race and finished in 42:20, which puts her 3rd on the UK ranking list for F60, with the leading time being 42:07.