After the Wetherby 10k the other week, I had a look around trying to find a fast and relatively flat 10k. Just to have one last pop at it before the marathons come thick and fast. There might have been many more, but in my category. It also had to be local enough. I looked at the route profile, the race has only been running a couple of year. 2015 and 2016. It doesn’t look like they held an event in 2017. The website is bare minimal. It was £14 to enter. It might be an hidden gem. It also might be an absolute nightmare, we shall see!
Lately the short races have been great, last week at the Vale of York was the test to see if I could pick it up for something a little longer. Came out of it knowing what I’ve got to do. I know for the marathon, I might not have done many ‘long’ runs but I’ve done plenty of long days. Done a bit of training a little bit differently for these marathons, the next two month now. We’ll see if it has worked.
The week in build up to the Dash, has been a bit emotional. Leaving plenty of runners in the Barnsley area feeling humble for what we’ve got and what the running family is. Tuesday night the Penistone group got together for what was a normal club run, thrown in with some Gary Dean Mile Reps. A perfect time for reflection of just what life actually means. It certainly made me think. You see everyone around you, thinking something of the same. Even though it’ll have all hit us in different ways. Wednesday night, the Dam Wall speed team got together for what could be one of my last of this year. Before we move into the tunnel for the dark nights. I was trying to pick my pace up to 73 seconds for the 400. Managing it for the majority, until back pain/stomach cramps hit. Probably didn’t help having a full bag of Haribo Tangfastics on the way up to the Dam! The Dam Wall Team and getting a group of us together week in and week out. Has made such a difference to my training, allowing me to focus and possibly fine tune some speed. Which I don’t naturally possess. It’s been great seeing each and everyone of them succeed in their own way and it’s great to see us placing high, PB’ing and achieving in races together. Even though on a day I might not have personally succeeding, it still makes you feel great when your teammate does next to you. Plus another bonus, Shaun has provided a few of us with some cream from Germany… apparently it’s used on racing horses, it’s basically like a strong deep freeze. He swears by it. Apparently it’s good for you. So the camaraderie flying around that at the minute is ace!
The rest of the week has been full of steady runs, pacier runs and testing runs. All enjoyed, all taken as a lesson for tomorrow. Parkrun came around quick, parkcelebration! 400 runs of the Locke Park event. It was expected to be a busy one, and plenty of faces. Regulars, old and newbies were planning on turning up. To celebrate the 400th running together! I quote Ian Neville, it’s the first time there has been a hub bub at the event. You could hear the crowds gathering from a far! A minute applause for Gary Dean was held.
The Penistone vests were out in force to celebrate the event, Team Barnsley T shirts a plenty and plenty of Parkrun milestone t shirts. Just as requested by Barnsley. A gathering magnificent to the eye. Just a small park in Barnsley! Scott Hinchcliffe also turned up, I spotted him running towards the park. A quick chat with him about general things and stroll down to the start. Adrian Gough getting down for a sprint start from the blocks, he had previously down 14 laps round the park from roughly 7.30. As part of his marathon training. A slight delay in the start, but at least everyone made it! We was off underway and straight away Scott was back in form.
With the Dam Wall Team out there on course! Jonny, Charlie, Kieron, me and Scott. Scott sat with me for the majority of the run, and pushed me all the way. It was busy, there was a full crowd of people, chain running around the back! Awe to the eye. I loved seeing people that I may not have seen for ages. Due to various life commitments. With Scott on my shoulder. I managed to get my hands on the lucrative PB bell to get a 2 second PB!
Now sitting at 16:44, but every second counts!
Off I went for my ‘and some’ miles before work, with one last cheer for Joel. Who was there competing the Parkrun, truly inspiring!
The Derwent Dash now. The profile, looks flat. With one small hill, like a ripple. The field looks ok. But it is low key. I’m not position chasing, I’m meant to be ‘tapering’ for the marathon next weekend. You know, I never really taper. Right? Not properly anyway. I’m just wanting some sort of run around, maybe a PB blast. I know my current 33:58 is soft. For the times I run at other distances. But like I said, I don’t naturally possess raw speed. I’ve to work for that. I ain’t lucky in that department. The race started around 10, I arrived around 9 ish and parked in The Three Cups pub. For those who have done or are doing York. You will definitely see it on route. I drove in on the very familiar out and back section of the York course. It goes much quicker when your driving. It does actually look quite hilly as well, you don’t realise when you run it. I’ve run every York Marathon since its conception, so it’s not put me off! Went for a small jog to the toilet and the jogged back, got my vest on. Did a couple of strides and found myself being led to the start. Organised by a group from Pocklington runners. Some faces I’ve seen around at races. But only an handful of people that are recognisable, that I’ve spoken to before. This is why I race further a field. How else do you get to know people? The race started in a small cul de sac, rather like a Gary Dean Mile Rep. Just with less hills! So the surroundings made it a tender one to begin with.
Standing on the start and waiting for the 3,2,1 go. Quickly I was underway and my race began. Didn’t check my shoulder, didn’t know. But there was definitely no one in front of me, only the lead car. Psychologically setting myself in for a lonely trek, all on my own. Cue song! The wind this morning was a bit on the breezy side, waking me up in the night. Battering on my window. So the wind was probably going to be a factor today and on leaving the housing estate, it was.
In your face, pushing you to and from. Not nice. Trying to catch the lead car, just a little bit. To give me some sort of aerodynamic drag. Didn’t work. What I’d give for a Scott on my shoulder right now! But when he’s in form, he’d probably be about a minute in front of me. In reality! The only hill was to come around mile 2 ish. But until then, no hill in sight. Maybe a small pothole or two. If that. But nothing, country roads. Winding. Bushes and trees for shelter. Trying to keep my head up, focus and drive out. The first mile was quick. 5:07. It’s been usual for that to happen lately. I slowed, steadied and got myself settled. Focussing on the stride. One at a time. Kilometre markers are used in this race and the smaller milestones sometimes work better for some. I work better in miles though, but at least the markers were good for company today. Plenty of Marshall’s around on route as well, rolling road block. So zero cars! Each Marshall passed followed by a friendly cheer and praise. Turning into a little gem this one! No idea of time, no idea of pace. Running to whatever feels the best. We’ll find out if it’s a PB at the end. 5k came around rather quick. After passing a free water station, set up by some locals. Then the official water station followed. 16:37 after checking after the race. Not bad. Possibly take another 45 seconds to a minute off of that, without the wind and with some company. I’m competitive, it helps I think, mainly it’s against myself. But when you stick that number on your front and your racing shoes on, you find a different gear! Trying to get closer to the lead car, and believing the wind was now behind me. Definitely didn’t feel like it. Head held high. Knowing the pace felt roughly like 5:30. Same sort of pace as the half marathon last weekend.
6k down. A Spencer’s Dash done. Roughly 2.5 mile to go, it became a ticking game then. Looking for little goals and markers in the distance to get to. To beat. It helped when a bird flew past. In honesty, these always become my favourite races. When you could stop and look around for a minute and see nothing, when you know it’s running in it’s purest form. Taking you back to the moment on top of the Hill, at the Toss O Coin race in the summer. The man in the mountains at Snowdonia. The grind, the pure running the best you can. For as long as you can. These are the races I love, they beat your big city run for all’s. Or your Great North Runs, hands down. Any day. 7k down, a steeplechase to go was my first thought. 3000 metres. Like counting sheep, but picturing me jumping a hurdle instead! Getting to some more built up area now. As we pass through Low Catton. See this sign on the York Marathon route. In 4 weeks time, I’ll be running this neck of the woods again! 8k down. 1.2 mile to go. Throwing myself forwards with every step, hoping I’d land somewhere around PB. 9k and a shout from a Marshall, 1000 metres left. Smashing it! Quickly saw the cricket club I ran past on my warm up, 90 degree turn and finish line in sight.
Running along the Old Railway Viaduct, to Finish on the viaduct itself. Right above the River Derwent. Seeing the clock ticking in the 33 bracket as I approached. Did leave me feeling a bit gutted, as I still feel I can go faster! Crossing the line:
For the first time in my life as well, managing to set a course record. I hung around and chatted to a fair few people before venturing back to my car and running around Stamford Bridge. Hanging around for the prize presentation in the Sports Hall.
Overall a enjoyable race, chip timed, cheap and cheerful. Water stations at the right points, well organised, Yorkshire flat and fast, Yorkshire spirit, a true hidden gem! I’ll be back here for sure, hopefully I might be able to tempt some of the team as well!
Splits look fairly even, despite during the race thinking I had slowed for the second half. I don’t care what you say, I’m calling it a negative split! I’ve read 135ft of climb for the full race. Which in my book is flat. Maybe without the breeze and having some target to run against I’d be able to take a minute, possibly a minute and thirty of off that time, in current shape? Just maybe.
Off back to town soon after hoping to make it in time for Ellie’s football. Which I did, managed to watch her win and bag an hat trick against Doncaster Belles.
Shall we taper now? Ready for my last long run before York? The Hull Marathon next weekend. We’ll see how that goes, shall we?
Just Keep Running!