Many of you active runners are no doubt starting out on a cross country season with local league races followed by county, regional and perhaps the National. That's certainly how I started out as a youngster in the '60s. But of course it's not only only way to shape a year's running.
Having raced the National in Roundhay Park, Leeds in March 1982 for Bingley Harriers I virtually hung up my spikes for the rest of the decade. No sooner had I washed the mud off my legs than I changed focus and by the end of October had run 5 marathons, the best being the 2:29 London in the April and finishing the season at the end of October with 6th in the Leeds (2:32.07). Well due for a rest!!
So this became the new shape of the running year. My fresh focus took me to Valley Striders, a "marathon mad" club and I would tend to find a key autumn race to target and finish off the season. Several years I didn't race again until the Ribble Valley 10k which served as a chance to see how fit I was after ticking over in November and December.
Looking back 25 YEARS AGO to this week 1987 then that year followed that pattern and the LEEDS HALF MARATHON would mark the end of the racing season on October 24th. It would also be the 10th and final event in the Leeds Grand Prix but as long as I finished that title was already pretty secure.
Most of the Leeds G.P. events were fairly short and not having run a half since the Brass Monkey in January I decided to race the NIDD VALLEY HALF , 3 weeks before the Leeds on October 4.
On a tough undulating course to the west of Harrogate, the local club gave us Valley Striders a firm reminder that they could run distance as well as us and put 5 in the first 11. BEN GRANT (3) JEFF HUTTON (4) KEN MOORE(6) TIM INGLEHEARN (10) BRIAN MILLER (11). I was sandwiched between them in 7th in 73.48.
3 weeks later the forces of VALLEY STRIDERS would be split for the half and the full marathon.
I seem to recall that we all set off together and I had to respectfully remind my full distance club mates that they were doing twice the distance as they kept pace with us for the first couple of miles. "Slow down ....you're embarrassing us!! They did...but not much.
Keith, the winner, was almost apologetic afterwards saying he had beaten "a better runner"! The pic shows that runner up Terry Bean iwas just happy that it was teammate who beat him.
In contrast, Granville writing as "JIM DALTON" in the Bradford Telegraph & Argus highlighted the half marathon win of BINGLEY'S ROY BAILEY IN 66.15.
I narrowly missed the podium with 4th place in 71.25. It was just a minute slower than the much faster BRASS MONKEY course (also 4th) and was a fairly satisfactory end to the season on October 25th 1987.
25 races with 18 top 10 placings BUT no race win. However, the first place in the Leeds Grand Prix was excellent compensation and was a good reward for a very consistent season.