Hull 20

I’ve been feeling a bit leggy since Retford last week. So racing 20 mile today was always going to be a challenge. I ran yesterday at Parkrun, feeling leggy and tired. Plodding round in 17:54; legs feeling tired from the off. Although another Parkrun in the bag. Switching up from that training pace to a racing pace and any running will say, it’s a massive jump. It’s an extra gear, simulated in speed sessions and those quality sessions that we do. Plodding through the week anyway after trying to run hard at Retford and PB’ing at Parkrun on Sunday. 

Straight into the race report anyway,  Hull 20. I’ve run here in previous years in the build up to my marathons. It’s a great indicator as to where you are for all the training that you’ve put it. It’s more realistic in terms of the gradient in comparison to Manchester marathon. Pancake flat. I had the option as well to do Spen 20 and recovery wise probably should’ve but I would’ve rather have done Retford. 

I spoke to Mark Yates at Parkrun on Saturday and he kindly offered to give me a lift to Hull, he was already taking Mel Wallace and James Thompson. Picking me up at 7:10 and oh wow he was precise. 

Making my porridge and Nutella, eating it in the car on the way to the race. I was running a bit late.. as always. We went through to pick James up and off we went, an hour and half drive to Hull! Steady away and arriving at 8:40. Off to get our number, 4 toilets free at the same time; made for some interesting whale noises! Numbers collected, back to the car. 20 mile to race, warm up was just a leg loosener today. Get them moving, nothing more. See how they feel, not as tight as Parkrun yesterday but still can feel them there. Speaking to Lee Nash, seeing the harriers contingent and other Barnsley runners out doing their warm ups or number collection. Race started at 10; it was obvious from waking up this morning that wind was going to be the card played today. What direction and how strong? Fast field looked to have turned out, Dan Kestrel, Franco Pardini, Greg Clarkson

I was shocked to find myself in with the front pack from the set off, not where I wanted to be. I wanted ideally to run my own race, not alone, but not too fast that I’d blow up. Running out the gate, feeling almost effortless; clocking the first mile with ease 5:36. Not really too fast, but I was aiming to pace around 6:00’s. Giving me a 2 hour finish time. Second mile down in 5:47; thinking oh for crying out loud! It felt like a 6:00. Taking my foot off of the gas a little bit. Rocking a 5:59 for mile 3 that’s more like it! I was passed by 2 runners running together; the only time I was passed though in the whole race! Feeling relatively easy and wind remaining calm, miles ticked over the course is a relatively out and back with a small loop at the top, like a frying pan but then one at the end. I reached he 5 mile marker in 29:10; the older chap who sits in the chair told me. Miles felt so easy ticking them off, one by one. Out on the lonely country roads with no one in sight, I could see the leading pack in front splitting off into smaller groups of 2/3’s. With those fading who set off too quick. Slight tease of the wind on the turning of a few corners; thinking to myself I’m so glad I ain’t running into that. Anticipating a cross wind for the full race. Sherbet lemon out of the pocket, missed my massive mouth; second attempt I succeeded. Miles still passing, reaching 6-7-8-9; approaching the only real climb in the whole race. Quick check of the watch estimated finish time: 1:58:00. Buzzing. Still feeling comfortable.

Turn. Mile 10 ish. Headwind. Crap. A drag. You can see for miles. I can see the lead runners, and lead bikes. Physically and mentally draining. My first few miles meant I could afford 6:06 splits in the second half. I looked at my watch 6:23 for that mile. 10-11. I even spat my sherbet lemon out! I tried to pick it up in the headwind, I did but still off of pace. 

Changed watch to map mode, showing me zero running information. Just a line on the screen showing me where I’ve been. Run to feel now. Just get through it. I tried hiding behind bushes, trees; hoping for a passing car. Nothing worked. Relentless wind. I know I’ve run in worse, Isle of Axholme being one of them. Reaching the guy at mile 15 calling out times quicker than I thought, 1:30:50. Well that’s a game 29:10 again and sub 2? In the wind a massive task. All the while, I didn’t know I was sitting in 12th place. Putting another sherbet in, again missing my mouth and the fourth one in my pocket made it successful. Seeing runners in front still, but not hearing or seeing anyone behind. I could see Gregan was fading slightly, he’s been running well and hard the last few week. Managing to catch him; he eventually stopped for a walk.  I reached the old railway track/cycle path. Again hitting wind. Pushing me back, getting stronger and stronger. Like you’re running in a tunnel! 6:43 my slowest mile of the race. Seeing again for miles in front. When will it end, I was waiting for the steel bridge; I’ve done this race before and the steel bridge means near the end. So not far. 

Breaking off the cycle track, a Marshall goes, ‘that wind is a bitch’ soldiering on. Into the estate wind now behind me. A mile left trying to pick it up. Kicking as much as I had left. But so far away now from sub 2. Watch saying 2:04 predicted time. Nearly there though. Plodding on. 

I finished in 11th


Much to surprise, James Thompson finished just behind me in 2:04. Mel Wallace was around 2:12 and Mark Yates 2:27. We scrubbed up the buffet in the process. Many other runners from Barnsley were in attendance and running well. Lee Nash, Steve Fowler, Paul Johnson, Dan Kestrel, David Hanks, Rich Spooner, Alan Ford, Katie Roberts Amanda Fowler and Tracy Hughes. Amongst the many others I also saw. 

Results Link:

The race of two halves.

Barnsley Runners United or Team Barnsley

This week I’ve been thinking, bad for you that, isn’t it, probably inspired a little by me joining Penistone Footpath Runners. Reinforced by conversations with Mel in the car this morning. But wouldn’t it be great if we could as a group of collective runners in Barnsley. Set up a club, whether it be second claim or first. Of Barnsley Runners. Surely it would help running as a whole in the area. We’re pretty much unofficially in that position at the minute. Everyone from every club trains together and supports each other. Mel also mentioned team events, such as the 12 stage relays. Surely it would be interesting and easily possible. Imagine the strength of the team we could get from all the pool of Barnsley runners. But what colour would we run in? Mix of white, blue, orange and black? Just food for thought. 


Just Keep Running!


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