Living in Yorkshire but being a member of Sale Harriers in Cheshire, my inclination when choosing races is to look generally to travel west. So yesterday I thought I would stay in the White Rose county and keep race selection "fresh" by sample a new event for me, the THOLTHORPE 10K, being held for the 17th time.
The event's website promotes the event as a friendly race, ( so presumably no pushing, no punching, no barging, no biting allowed) on a measured fast course. With a finish adjacent to a "picturesque" duck pond it certainly sounded very attractive.
THOLTHORPE is now a sleepy commuter village 5.25 miles to the east of the A1; 11 miles to the NW of York. But it'a bit off the beaten track. One tip if you have satnav in you car, use it! It's not quite the easiest of places to find as the area is crisscrossed by a myriad of narrow country lanes and you may even
find yourself paying 40P each way when crossing the rickety wooded ALDWATER BRIDGE TOLL BRIDGE at 5 miles per hour. The satnav has warned me!
The THOLTHORPE 10K could be said to be the very antithesis of the mass participation 10Ks.
The venue, a quintessential sleepy Yorkshire village with a Church, a pub and a duck pond in the middle is not quite just off Albert Square Manchester. There's no need to enter months ahead to get in; despite the website saying queues for entry on the day would be "manic" I simply strolled up to an empty desk an hour before race start time and hand over a modest £8. You won't be lining up with a host of invited foreign athletes. No problem parking on the lane leading to the remains of the former RAF second world war air base and a nice commemorative mug as a souvenir.
Now I think we all know the formula for 10K prediction time don't we?
You take your recent 5K time , double it and add a minute. Simple.
You then simply divide your predicted time by 10 and you're away. In fact why bother going, you know what time you'll be doing anyway. But in reality, not quite so simple.
Having run 20.59 and 21.02 in 5ks recently the formula would suggest a target therefore of 43 minutes. So quite simply hit 4.18 for each K and there you have it. But doubts about the course set in during prerace conversation with Bingley super, super vet FRED GIBBS who said he would be looking for approx. 42.30 "on this course" clearly implying that it certainly wouldn't be flat.
It wouldn't be cool either; the temperature was rapidly reaching and surpassing 20 degrees which came as a bit of a shock to the system after recent single figure temperatures. Throw in a strong westerly breeze and we knew we were in for a tough morning.
I replied that I was looking for about 43 so quite clearly I said I would try to stay on Fred's shoulder for as long as I could! No easy task as 74 year old Mr. Gibbs has a whole string of British masters titles to his credit and currently ranks no.1 M70 UK for 10 mile.
Fred slipped by in the first uphill K . I managed to hold on for the first couple of miles but the gap slowly widened. Whilst he was never much more than a good stone's throw away, I just couldn't bring him back.
He went on to run 43.28 to achieve 3rd place in the 2012 UK ranking.
I was 25 seconds behind running 43.53. A good sold run for my 144th 10K.
The splits reflect the undulations of the figure of 8 course. It's far from being pan flat but no where near as challenging as the Boggart Chase will be in two week's time.
4.25 4.16 4.18 4.19 4.25 4.27 4.31 4.27 4.45(!) 3.57
Ripon's MICHAEL APPLETON won the race relatively unchallenged in a moderate 35.17 from ex Otley and Ilkley Harrier MATT COX (36.29) making a comeback after an horrendous bike accident in which his front forks spontaneously collapsed. Nasty! Good to see him back.
New Ilkley Harrier BETH MASSEY was first lady in 40.49.
I was suprised that the vets categories were in 10 year bands and that there was actually NO M70 category
But such was the excellence of Fred's run that beat me the M60 award despite being 74 (!).
For me, some meagre consolation in being first M60. Well done Fred!