The Leeds Christmas 10k

Another one of those consistent runs. I’ve done this for every year since I started running. I was toying with the idea of leaving it out of the calendar this year, but couldn’t resist the temptation. 

It really does offer everything, fast descents, beastly climbs, trail, road, track, chip timed, woods and fields. Views aren’t particular spectacular but you hardly have the time to look up and tend to focus on where you are putting your feet. Around 650ft of climb along the course, but what goes up, must come down. It really is a bit of a fun run, nothing too serious; an enjoyable race in the calendar. 

I suppose doing this event for me, now means Christmas is just around the corner. With it being a feature in the last 4 years. Mince pies on offer at the finish and a nice tech t shirt to add to my collection. 

I wasn’t planning on ‘racing’ this one; just really using it as a chunk of a training run, so I don’t get too bored running around on my own and it also means I get some decent pace thrown in too. Although I’ve never broke 40 minutes on this event, that would be nice. They’ve changed the course this year though, potentially a little faster; with it being 2 laps, instead of 3. 

Closest I’ve got to 40 minutes around here.

I’ve had a good week in terms of running, I’ve enjoyed some miles and back on the grind after last weeks stomach ache. I had a bit of grief from my ankle, Wednesday/Thursday so dodged speed work on Wednesday night. I reintroduced a pair of trainers into my life, they gave me grief with my ankle and toes before. So tested them again and they’ve gave me grief again. My brother has now chosen to wear them as a work shoe. I don’t know why they have done that, I usually wear adios boost for racing, and these are the Boston boost; pretty much the same. I personally think it’s because they restrict movement of the ankle a little bit more than my usual. I guess I’ll have to buy some more shoes now! 

I went out Thursday night and had a pleasant stroll with Bryan and Mark on the boundary. Running Leg 5, Brampton to Tankersley; really quite a steady route and flat’ish; could potentially be a starting point for my challenge in June. Depending on how the leg 6 feels on Monday night. 

All in blue!

I’ve had a week, of watch covering runs. Not really focussed on pace, just got my miles in and run to how I’ve felt. 


Back to today’s task. I got there around 9. With the race starting at 10.30, giving me plenty of time for a warm up, collect my number and toilet stop. I opted to warm up on the actual course, mainly to decide what shoes to wear. My options Inov-8 X Talons or Adios Boost’s with zero grip (mainly cause they have worn away). I didn’t bring much shoe choice. Maybe my inbetween light trail shoes would’ve been perfect; but they are ripped everywhere you can imagine, so they may not have lasted the duration. It’s a long drag up on a light disused track, not too muddy but definitely not dry. Reaching the top before the drop down, it turns to a hardly never used path. Quite slippy and slidey but manageable, a steep climb on mud before hitting the light trail/ wood/ it is tarmaced underneath; but it is a massive descent. Two laps of that, the other section was a rugby field crossing of 100 metres and some of the athletics track. I opted for my boosts. Banking really on the fast descent and it being light in parts. I’d feel comfort, lighter and faster in these. 

Off I went for the start, seeing Keith Littlewood, he opted for some fell raisers, thinking I may have made a wrong decision I played the game in my head whether I should head back to the car or not, and change. I didn’t. 

Off we went for the start, usual race fashion and the starting horn failing. 700m around the track and out towards Middleton park. Settling in the 7/8 position, I was running comfortably and still had tons of grip. First real test of the shoes came across the rugby field, my course recce came to the front here, as I went to the left and everyone else went right, anticipating the turn but that was the old course. Probably gaining me some, nicer, firmer ground. A tough climb later and onto the trail track climb, still in 7th approaching to catch 6th. I wasn’t quite busting a gut at this point, but I was hardly coasting through. Watch split my first mile at 5:55. You can tell we was climbing because my second mile came in at 6:54 before the sharp descent on the wood/path. The guy on the ‘lead’ bike also fell quite surprisingly behind, struggling himself up the climb, so it seemed, up in his seat, puffing and panting. Really slippy at race pace up on the top path, loosing valuable time and a position here, because of my shoe choice, finding myself overtaken by a pair of grippier lugs. 8th place now, I soon clawed it back on the descent back into 6th place. Confidently approaching this and hitting 5:55 again for the mile split. Back climbing, it feels a much longer climb for the second lap. Repeating it all again, a few other runners to pass as well and a guy out for his Sunday jog, must’ve been a long run for him, he was snaking all over the path. Making it quite difficult to pass. Up the trail track again and onto the slippy section, 6:24 + 6:45. Approaching the last climb before the descent I took a little slip out of line and felt my left hamstring/ groin and quad all contract at once. Not a nice feeling, a little like cramp or preparing to pull! I thought that was it, and already began to plan my slow training runs to recovery! I slowed down and tried shaking my leg out on the move. Caught now my 7th and 8th. I could hold them off for a bit but didn’t want to risk any further damage. I was pulling to one side to let them past but the kept tucking in behind. Much to my frustration. It really is a narrow path. Onto the open bit and still they didn’t pass. My leg feeling alright, so I lengthened my stride on the descent. Back towards the rugby field still in 6th; watch pinged 5:33, what the hell! Onto the grass route actually goes between 2 stones, a puddle and grass, but there is a ‘smoother’ path to the right, I did the proper way. But took a slip as if I hit black ice, skittling forwards onto the stones. Loosing a position, now in 7th. 6th had taken the other route. 8th had followed me and ran into the back of me. Reluctant for a sprint finish around the track, not wanting to risk injury in a fun run; I finished in 7th place. Breaking 40 minutes for a 38:19.

Keith Littlewood finished just behind me in 40:06, 12th place. He had the same idea as me and ran it so that he wasn’t out tootling along at a steady pace alone. 

Results Link: http://www.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=16418&RId=309

Strava Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/799522075/shareable_images/map_based?hl=en-GB&v=1481462355

A nice steady 13 mile around the South of Leeds later and I was back on my way home, 24 for the day. 147 for the week so far. But it’s Sunday rules, so anything could happen yet. 

Just Keep Running! 

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