Thirsk 10 and so much more than that!

My 3rd race on a Sunday in 3 weeks. Massive March is nearly over.

My blog is titled ‘Thirsk 10 and so much more than that,’ so much more than that for a few things. So lets begin!

It’s always good to take a step back and look at the few things that matter, the things that give you the reason WHY. The reason why we put ourselves through the day to day pain of running, of training. The reason why, we look at targets or goals, something to strive towards and achieve sometime in hopefully the not too distant future. The inner workings of ourselves, the search and adventure towards the optimum performance. The driven motivations behind what you do and the way you do it. Myself I am intrinsically motivated, I know that. I am motivated by internal factors and contributions, an internal reward. Self satisfaction, my own personal achievements, my body and my machine to work and guide along the way. Striving and chasing my own goals, dreams, whilst raising my own bar to improve my own standards. Not for reward, not for trophies, not for financial achievements. All I do, is go out for a run, day to day, time after time. Working hard and enjoying it for exactly what it is, a run. I strive to be consistent, strive to always work hard and promise myself never to give up. Never to fall down, but if I must, I will at least fall down fighting. I am highly motivated, highly motivated intrinsically. But every now and then, something happens, something opens your eyes. Makes you stop for a minute, only for you to close them again and see exactly where you may have come from. This is my so much more than that….

Saturday night

The Penistone Footpath Runners presentation evening. I enjoy it, it’s well organised of course, with Jill, Martin and Lee at the helm. It’s a celebration of all the achievements of all the runners in the club from the year before. It’s an eye opener of just how far our small or large club has been. It’s a moment for reflection and glance forward to just where we all may end up. Mainly it’s conversation about running, with the odd conversation off of the topic of running. I went to the evening after a meal out with Ellie at the Sovereign and plenty of cheese later, and it was melted! Got there early because we didn’t have much else to do having finished the meal early. Sat down, watched Shaun Dimelow demolish a full tube of crisp, as we watched everyone else arrive. For the first time in my life, I was early. Strange. People arrived we spoke about running and a few other things whilst we waited for the ceremony the start. It was clear that the night and amongst conversation between us all and fresh in our thoughts and fresh in our minds, was our colleague and friend. Gary Dean, a runner, a train lover and a bit of a ale drinker, who sadly lost his life late last year. Conversation of inspiring tales, memories and events we’ve all shared.

Chitchatting, the evening got underway. A round of applause for the two runners we’ve lost through the year. Norman Cole, who lost his battle a few weeks ago, and Gary. Up stepped Steve Dickinson to present the Chairman’s award, awarding it to Keith Gordon for his outstanding work and commitment towards Penistone and the wider running community. Then up stepped Caroline Dean, to present the Gary Dean award. She began talking as we all listening intently, whilst holding a newly crafted award, topped with a model train, a Class 37 diesel intercity locomotive. I’ve learnt that now. Inscribed with ‘A loyal PFR & AC member and a lover of Class 37’s, marathon running, fine ales, dogs and the countryside.’

Caroline is there, sharing Gary’s stories, sharing his favourite things, highlighting a particular favourite being the marathon. Himself running the London marathon since 2003, I believe. The award was to be awarded to an individual showing commitment or achievements that may be particularly outstanding, Caroline gives an emphasis on Personal Bests, club records or hardwork. She carries onto say that Gary would’ve chosen this award for this individual himself after following his spring marathon achievements in 2018, he then would’ve been proud if he could’ve followed his autumn marathon achievements in late 2018. Then began my small out of body experience. As she called my name, in shock myself, speechless for the first time, completely lost for words. Putting the whole work of 2018 into perspective. Myself being completely blind to the fact, that simply by just running, putting one step in front of the other could mean so much. Just by myself, my intrinsically motivated self, seeking constant improvement from that 2013 marathon; now placing me exactly where I am, right here in this moment. Whether it be pounding the streets of the capital making memories, or grinding the training miles in through the lovely town we call home. It’s a simple sport that can go onto inspire anyone to lace up their trainers and want to go outside, to appreciate the wonderful outdoors. It is a sport in which shows you true commitment, always present, always available, day after day. It’s an interesting sport with a quirky personality, with no run ever being the same. No run sharing the same rules and no run sharing the same tone. Although it lends itself to consistency, to routine, to time spent doing just that, running. Just run.

My shocked self, stepped up onto the stage and received the award from Caroline. Receiving the custodianship of a year, a motivational symbol to remind myself that I’m never alone in those final few miles of a race. When I’m grinding it out and the pain begins to set in, reminded that I’ve plenty more to give. More motivated than ever to step forward into the unknown, go outside of my comfort zone and improve. Find something I never knew that I could ever reach. Doing everything I can to get there. Thank You Caroline and….

Thank YOU Gary Dean!

Road Shield, Gary Dean Award, Fell Shield, Glass Trophy representing them.. Also mine and Ellie’s ‘Club Record’ achievements for the year.

Naturally it looks as it is a cracking collection, it’s great looking at all the names on the shields of all the runners that have gone before, knowing little bits about their stories and their outstanding achievements. Knowing we all have our own motivations crafted along the way. But it is also great knowing that Ellie, having just started her running journey, is also sharing her own slice of history by possessing some Penistone Club Records (that hopefully she’ll go on to beat again this year). Making me proud that hopefully some of my motivation is reflected in her.

Thirsk 10

Never run this one before, rarity, it’s in Yorkshire its pretty popular but I’ve never run it before. NICE! A true adventure, I’ve heard of Thirsk its a market town in North Yorkshire. Not been that I know of anyway. Looked up the results, gave me the impression that it was a fast field, and well populated, it’s in the middle of peak marathon training, so the majority of marathon runners will be fit going into the race. The perfect distance for those 10k runners to step up towards and try and have a go at something further. Pace it like a 10k and hope to god you hold on! That was the plan anyway, my PB for the distance came last year at The Gilberdyke 10, 55:31. So for myself I had set the bar high, deep down, given the right conditions to fall on the day, I knew and I was confident I could beat it. But the question I had to ask myself was just by how much. Given it was the presentation on Saturday night, sleep wasn’t a given. Dropping off early, but eventually dropping off properly at 1 o’clock. Race starts at 10, an hour run through so wanted to set off around 8. Reluctantly and eventually getting out of bed, I rushed around and managed to do exactly that. Set off at 8, bit of traffic getting into the car park meant I got out the car around 9:05. Not bad. Made my way to the racecourse to get my number, emergency toilet break, just in case, before I came back to get changed for my warm up. Didn’t anticipate there being many Barnsley or local runners here today with it being an hour anyway, so I was shocked to see John Broom early on and then Mark Riordan, two Penistone runners, I knew Dawn Broom wouldn’t be far away as well. Then bumped into Richard Hayes before I made my way back to the car. Plenty of Ackworth vests in attendance as well. Got changed spoke to a couple of marshalls about the race, gaining some inside information. Then went for a warm up. 2.75 mile later, find myself stood around the start, unwrapping my jakeman’s, honey and lemon cough sweet. Ready for the off. Speaking again to Rich and Mark, Rich had done the race before telling me to get to the front because it gets busy. Spotted a few runners who I had raced against before, plenty from New Marske Harriers and Rob Scott from Richmond and Zetland. Rich Smith from Hallamshire Harriers and Zak Mellard. All runners that I usually finish in and around. Small announcement from the organisers and then we were off, following the lead vehicle and its very loud and annoying trailer with the timing clock on. Quirky. Clear that wind was going to have some affect today. Small headwind from the off, I set out in front, probably a little too fast. Quickly dropped pace and tagged on the back of a pack around half a mile in. One of the New Marske lads kicked on and gave himself an early and identifiable lead. No one went with him. Sat comfortably in a pack of 4 content with the race and where I was at. A glance at the clock ahead, knowing I was on pace or there abouts anyway. Closed roads still, taking the best ‘racing’ line we could, feeling easy as a group and working for it. 1st water station down around mile 2.5. Didn’t need that today the race should be over quick enough. I dropped off of the small group that had formed and slowed a little, easing off as we went pass the water station. Through choice and found myself caught by a runner from behind as he went ahead and I dropped back into 6th. I made a surge as we came to the end of the road closure wanting to run in the pack again, I was roughly sat around 10 seconds behind; so gave myself some work to do. As the road closure ended the Traffic Management team began shouting at the lead car, myself from behind thinking, we had gone the wrong way or something had happened that is going to affect the outcome of the race. Turns out the cones had been set out only wide enough for the runners to go through and not for the lead car, quickly a few of the cones were moved and the lead car had to slalom around cones towards the end. Interesting to watch! I managed to catch the group and formed a group of 5, made it easier work running in a pack with the slight headwind pushing against us. Feeling easy, running in silence, no communication between the runners, only the foot steps. Glanced at the 400 splits flashing on my watch, every now and then they were dropping off of the 5:30 pace, a 1:22, 400m. Every now and then, I’d surge forward and push the pace slightly, knowing the competitiveness of the others will only bring them with me. They were probably thinking the same as me, maybe? Making our way through Sand Hutton still feeling like we were against the wind, but knowing that in actual fact it was meant to be a tailwind, knowing from looking at the map a left turn was coming up. Eventually we’ll feel some benefit from the breeze. Seeing the roundabout coming up ahead, our small group began to fragment again, we was now in the second half of the 10 mile. Rob Scott from Richmond and Zetland pushed on, taking the lead car with him. I was half tempted to go with him. On any other day, I probably would have but heavy racing legs left me hesitant. The next village on the route was Carlton Minniot, the road was busy with traffic and cars rushing up behind. There was bollards in the middle of the road stopping cars from coming pass us, easily anyway. Also with us running in smaller groups and more or less as individuals now, making it even more difficult. An incident happened with made the race a little more than a race at this point. There was a pretty loud bang one of the runners who was now running in 5th just behind me, Dean Newton. Had been hit by a car, reacting exactly how anyone would react when being hit by a car, he made it known to the driver. We could hear it all. Dean continued to run, then the car hit him again, with a little more force. Opinion would be that the first time was more or less, an accident, maybe due to the drivers impatience. The second time was a reaction, a reaction to Dean’s reaction. An inexplicable reaction from the driver and completely unnecessary to run into a runner, on purpose with a vehicle. As the driver pulled away I acknowledged the registration plate and kept repeating it to myself until the finish. Thankfully we was out of Carlton Minniott eventually and found ourselves battling against the headwind again on the out and back section of the course. Which makes for interesting viewing really, your chance to look at the field behind, look at peoples reactions to the race and how they are coping with it themselves. Also makes for easy pacing, breaking up the long sections and makes a mile or two pass much quicker! In 5th place myself now, on the back of the group and a good 20 seconds between 1st place and me. One of the runners in front was dropping pace and I knew if I kept going that I would claw myself into 4th and I didn’t want my pace to drop. Glancing ahead at the clock in the distance around a mile to go and it had just clocked onto 49 minutes, unofficially beating my Norton 9 time in the process. Leaving the small residential area and spying the race course in the distance, where the finish line is. Grinding it out for the last mile. Holding my form and not letting the pace drop at all. A sharp left turn and I was there:


4th place

As we crossed the line, I let the marshall’s and Dean know that I remembered the reg plate, making our way to the Race Director and writing it down whilst it was on my mind. As soon as I didn’t need that piece of information, it was gone out of my mind. Checking he was alright, telling our side of the story and then making our way back to collect a t shirt. I hung around the finish area, seeing plenty of runners that I’ve met out and about. Fiona Davies, Bridget Coomber, Mark Riordan, Gavin Walker, Lee Hopkins, John Broom, Dawn Broom, Rich Harrison, Rav Panesar. Then I was off, off on a cool down clocking some bonus miles in, running into Thirsk, running passed The World of James Herriot, a famous vet and author from the area. Back onto some country roads and making my way back to the racecourse, 5 mile later. Then the adventure was over, back to the car setting off on my journey home. Another Sunday race completed, another place visited and ran. A New 10 mile Personal Best by just over a minute, raising the standard and the bar to beat next time, just that little bit higher. Meaning I will have to work just that little bit harder. Every single time.

Mile splits for the race.

Strava Link

Results Link

Also it turns out it was another club record for the 3rd week running, building confidence that I’m improving and hopefully I’m in the shape to run well as the spring marathons approach. With Manchester on the horizon and London 6 weeks away, only time will tell. But whatever happens, happens and whatever will be, will be. Although I can tell you for certain, I’ll be proud to wear the Penistone Vest and proud to stick the number on my chest, as I toe the line. Just like Gary Dean has done before, I’ll go into it, as motivated as ever. With a driven mentality, determined to raise the bar for myself, to step out of my comfort zone and reach something I never thought I could reach before.

Just Keep Running!


    • You deserve that award Gareth. I hope London lives up to your expectations as an event. It was Gary’s favourite race and every time I ran it with him it was such a great experience. Good luck in both your marathons.


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