Why do people do the Percy Pud?
It’s a fast packed field, it’s not particularly flat, it’s a nightmare for entry, sells out in 2 hours, parking can sometimes be sparse, it’s in December, which means it could be freezing, there is 2500 people running….. but did I mention it’s fast, cheap enough, you get a Christmas pudding for finishing and it’s an event organised by a running club, by runners for runners. It comes out as one of the best 10k’s on the calendar for me for everything it has to offer. It’s also the last chance of the year for most to PB. I’m not chasing them today though, it would be nice. I ain’t in that sort of shape at the minute, lacking a bit of top end speed and hill strength. It’ll come!
In 2015, 38:42 at the Pud. PB that year, 36:49 at Hull 10k in the summer of 2015. Way off of pace at the Pud, but my first time there. Not knowing what to expect. Leaving 2016, the Percy Pud was my PB course, narrowly missed out on sub 35. 35:07. I was rocking a big bushy beard then, so maybe if I had trimmed it, I might have gone sub 35?Potential photo of the year for 2016.
So here we are, a year later. 3rd attempt at the Pud seeing what I can do. No expectations. No ambitions of a PB, I was fast last week at Barnsley, 35:35, and I wasn’t well. My PB this year being 34:28 at the Salford 10k on Good Friday. A two lap, flat as you can find course. But today, I was just going to go out and enjoy it the best I could. The course isn’t flat and it’s December. Also, in a fashion still recovering from the winter dose of flu.
This week training has been held back, with issues with my car taking forefront in my mind and work gaps being minimal, also catching up on sleep lost in the previous week. I’ll have still completed 95 Mile by the end. Still some way off where I want to be. Quality miles seem to be taking lead at the moment rather than the quantity of miles. In the weeks coming up to Christmas and January, work generally quietens down and I should be able to pick it up again soon. Hopefully.
The day of the Pud, I got to bed relatively early on Saturday night but slept very little. The 6.45 alarm came around quicker than I hoped. Getting out of bed for a wake up shower. Managing to stumble and fall around the house until I left at 8 o’clock. En route to Loxley, Sheffield. It’s only a 25 minute drive on a quiet morning; it was quiet this morning, even saw two deer snacking on a bit of grass in the middle of the road on my journey! Anyway, I arrived into the area around 8.25 ish. Knowing straight away to head to the primary school for parking. 3rd year, I’ve become more knowledgeable around this. 1st year drove around for 20 minutes, parked on the same street as the school. 2nd year, 10 minutes, parked in the school. 3rd year, straight to the school. You learn, I guess! Kit on, off I went for a warm up. Down towards the start and out on route, seeing Tim Baker, continuing a bit of my warm up with him. He lives a mile or two away from the start, but never run the race. Despite Loxley and Damflask being where all this running malarkey began for him. New Year’s Day, a few years ago. Running and never looking back! With running changing his life, for the better, of course! Back to the car, vest on and back down to the start, seeing plenty of faces! The final massive race of the year! Spotting runners who I’d hope to be around, Arron Larkin (I wish), Phil Skelton, Simon Wright, Rich Spooner and Tim Baker again. But it’s a massive race so someone could appear from nowhere.
Anyone fancy a game of Where’s Wally?
Toes on the line and we were off after a quick speech from the organiser, I managed to start to the left of the Christmas tree! The route, down, up, down, flat, slightly up, then down, turn and come back.. quite simple really. I set off, not with the lead group but sitting some way behind them with a fringe group. Didn’t want to set off too quick, so settled down quickly. But it felt easy, got to the dam wall rather quick! The back end of the Damflask route before the massive climb in that race. Focussing now on holding the pace to keep going, finding myself in a small group. With the sights of Phil Skelton in front, a fellow hilly half marathon lover! 5:26 for the first mile and then settled to a 5:36. Now I began to fade, slightly uphill and then down before the turnaround mark. The group had left me and were in front by a few seconds but too far for me to feel the benefit of running in a pack. Wanting to increase the pace and effort, but not having the strength or the higher gear. Then we hit the turnaround mark. I hit it in 17 minutes dead, on watch.
This was it now, make or break, catch them in front or fade into the distance. Another reason anyone loves the Pud, SUPPORT! Not only from spectators but other runners! It’s on a narrow road really, out and back. It’s personal, you’re up close and you can see faces. Not like the divide at the Abbey Dash. First cheer, go on Gaz. Keep pushing. Chasing the group as I head back to the dam wall a 2 mile mad dash. I began my kick by catching them just after the drinks station. Sights still on Phil. The support continued and it became a shout for Phil or Steel City Striders and one for Gaz or Penistone. Which is fantastic. I didn’t have the breath though to say anything back! Keeping my head up and just keep moving forward. Really enjoying the chase here. My best mile followed, not in terms of speed but effort was so easy and speed felt easy. 5:28. Keep going now! I managed to pass Phil at some stage, leaving the main group that I had previously been chasing. With 2 speeding off in front and some hanging on behind. With then David Byrne, giving me a chase. The Dam wall was around in a blink, before I knew it we was climbing out. I faded a little on the hill and picked up pace of the descent again. The first time I glanced at my watch, gave me a quick indication that I was close to a sub 35. To at least beat last years time. In my head through the race I didn’t know my 10k PB, it’s not something I pay attention to. I just know I’m yet to go sub 34, all times mentioned so far in the blog have been researched after the event (small print). Keep moving forward. Head up high, seeing the finish line above the hill. David kicked and left me, I don’t do big sprint finishes. Either that or I did eventually fade! I crossed the line in:
Seeing Phil finish just after me. I very rarely beat him in a race, if ever. But he’s a fantastic runner nonetheless! Sure I’ll see him in 2018 at some crazy Half Marathon. The race was quick today, not as fast a field as the Abbey Dash but quick for a running club organised race in the countryside. The best kind of races! Two course records were set. One by Andrew Heyes and one by Eillish McColgan. 29:42 and 32:23, respectively. But both professional, full time athletes. So it does flick a switch and make you think? What could I do, if I was full time? What could Arron Larkin do, who managed to finish 5th? Bonkers isn’t it?
All in all, a cracking race on a cracking Sunday, conditions were perfect for running. Many PB’s for many running friends and many achievements shared! What else do you want from a race? So why do people run the Percy Pud?
I’m sure it’s for the Christmas Pudding?
For the race I felt quite relaxed and comfortable, reflected in my heart rate! So it should hopefully mean I’m finally rid of the cold, I didn’t cough and splutter when I finish. So must be a good sign! The saviour in my race was the turnaround and seeing all those familiar faces. Fantastic performances all round.
Leeds Christmas 10k next weekend. Then the Travellers 6 the week after! Might see you all there.
Just Keep Running!