Saturday, 8 October 2011


  Looking at the race profiles of various runners it's amazing how they differ.   For some there is NO  punctuation; EVERY Saturday morning they do a local 5K parkrun!  Nothing else.  Many others similarly stick to the road throughout the year, some similarly racing every week but unlike the parkrunners they  like to vary the distance and  aren't afraid to travel a tad if needs be.
  Thousands  of unattached non-club runners settle for a mass marathon, a mass half marathon and  a mass 10K.   I now tend to do what many average club runners do;   some key races of varying distances with "tune up" races in between totalling about 20 or so in the year.   Each to his own as they say.
 In contrast "traditionalists" , including thousands of youngsters,  will start their cross country this weekend.  A summer of track racing behind them; perhaps fresh from a short September break.
A  cross country journey that will see the very best teenagers enjoy and endure as many as 20 races from Octotber to March.  An exhausting, gruelling programme of races which will see them representing their school  and club in local league events before Christmas;   then after, the more important  Championships.   County championships for school and club.   Regional club championships.  National school and club championships.   Inter Counties. International Schools .......
  So with all this on offer I just wonder why  United Kingdom Athletics includes u/20 u/17 u/15 and u/13 races in their Cross Challenge races which will see some youngsters travelling to Bristol, Liverpool, Cardiff, Antrim and Birmingham!   3 of them after Christmas when all they have important races school and club races.
  No surprise some youngsters give up when they leave "parental care" and escape to university.
  Our COMPLETE RUNNER CROSS COUNTRY league of 4 events starts Sunday Oct 9  just up the road at Guiseley; kindly hosted by SKYRAC A.C
  There was no cross country for me in the ' autumn binge of road races continued...
 1986.  Sept 7.  Windmill 1/2 marathon  71.09   Sept 14  Kirkstall 10K  33.04  Sept 28 Blackpool Half Marathon  70.19............surely time for a break you might think?!!

  No  we would be taking the van to sell some gear at the
scenic but equally challenging NIDD VALLEY ROUND TABLE HALF MARATHON and so why not run it?   It was  so often the best plan in terms of time management;  join the "customers" in the event.
  But the 3rd half marathon in 4 weeks would be more of a challenge than the 2 previous on the flat Fylde coast.   This was was over the hill from Ilkley starting from the village of Darley and would involve some very challenging hills in the first few miles  and  see us tackle the steep Clint Bank later.  But in between we would enjoy some very fast flat and downhill running through the village of Hampsthwaite so not all bad.
 By 1986 fellow Valley Strider TERRY BEAN had shed pounds and had emerged as a one of the area's leading distnce runners.  This day he  stamped his authority after the first climb aand even BEN GRANT of Harrogate could make no real impression on him despite the affinity with hills that Ben stills enjoys in his '60s.
Ben is still a force to reckon with on the fells and road .
  I could only let them go into the distance and settled for a fight for 3rd with Ben's teammate JEFF HUTTON.  A fight I lost  finishing 4th as the previous month's efforts took their toll no doubt but I did have the consolation of  finishing in 71.53  and being part of the winning VALLEY STRIDERS team.  ROB JACOBSON  being 3rd counter in 9th place.
 4th place was a repeat of the previous year but in 1985 Ben and Jeff had been behind.  This day they made up for it.
 A very frequent racer at this time was one MICHAEL WALKER of Gosforth in the North east.  He would shoot down the A1  week and week and scoop up the veterans prize.  In this event he achieved an unusual double as his father , John, ran 1:40 as a 67 year old to pick up the V60 award alongside his son.
 I only have a report listing the first 10 finishers of this event.
Perhaps  a reader ran in this and has the full results?  Did you run this one, Martin?

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