EASTER MONDAY APRIL15 1974.
THE HUDDERSFIELD "CHIPPENDALE" MARATHON
I'M SAT, yes sat, on the floor of the showers in the changing rooms at Leeds Road playing fields,Huddersfield. With the soothing water bouncing off my head and pouring down onto my back.
I'm asking Why? Why? Why?
Why? Did I choose to race over 26.2 miles in the first place.
I knew the answer. The same reason I ran a 15 mile road race ILLEGALLY at the age of 15. I was to born to race long distances. Having not made the under 12s 100 yards final at he school sports, I quickly leant the longer the race the better I performed.
Why? Choose Huddersfield? Why choose such a pig of a course?
A roller coaster tour of the "Last Of The Summer Wine" countryside in West Yorkshire. I don't suppose I even thought about the route and whether it was flat or not. Essentially it was just another race. Another afternoon of sport. This was a time without GPS, a time before gels, a time when water was allowed in races below 10 miles. I presume there would have been water on the course; but most of generally raced by. We might have taken the odd sip. Sensible? Who knows. We were there to race.
Why? Why do another one? Being content to sit in the showers rather than stand was an indication of the impact of the event. The course and distance had taken its toll but there was the question of what could be achieved on a flatter course. It wasn't a case of "never again!" I felt there was more to come.
I hadn't particularly targeted the race. There had been no tune up races of half marathons and 20 milers as today. I raced the Northern XC and the National XC and a leg for SALE HARRIERS in the Northern 12 stage road relay.
I don't recall even changing training routine particularly. We always did long runs of over 2 hours on a Sunday (most races were on a Saturday). In hindsight I suppose we were a bit naive and ignorant. "Just another race.....we'll be OK" sort of attitude.
The race, on the Easter Monday, started at 1.15 after lunch. he aim was to have everything done and dusted by "teatime" around 4 and back home for the football results. There would be no one running over 4 hours certainly.
64 runners were on the prerace programme plus a few late entries. Runners who decided at the last minute that a 26.2 jaunt would pass the time on a holiday afternoon All male ,of course. But 51 actually started. KEITH DARLOW (Bolton) led after 10 miles in 53.06 shoulder to shoulder with Wakefield's JOHN NEWSOME. I'd shot through the first 5 in 30.06 (2:37 pace). and at the 10 mile point I was running solo back in 31st place. 62.30 (2:43.52 pace).
At 15 the leaders were still battling it out. Behind them as the hills took a toll, 7 had dropped out. I was now up to 27th in 93.50 (still running for a sub 2:44)
A further 8 pulled off the course between 15 and 20. Up front, John Newsome had moved away from Keith Darlow and oped up a lead of over a minute. I meanwhile ploughed on going through 20 in 2:06.31. I'd overtaken another 7 but it was beginning to hurt....a lot.
But it was even more painful for others. Another 6 were passed by the time I crossed the line at the Leeds road track to finish 14th.
25 minutes earlier the slightly stooped, bespectacled Wakefield Harrier Newsome , aged 32, had won his 6th Yorkshire marathon title by over a mile in 2:22.56. Clear by over a mile from COLIN HUNT (Wolverhampton and Bilston) Keith Darlow had hung for 3rd. Hunt had been over 4 minutes behind at 20 miles.
FINAL TIME.....2:47.23 for 14th. place on a testing course.
Could I run faster on a flatter course? I would find out just a few weeks later.
I decided to race the PRESTON TO MORECAMBE marathon on AUGUST 24.
That couldn't possibly be hot, could it?