Sunday 23 August 2009

A good day at Burnsall

It was touch and go whether or not to run Burnsall. It's a tough 10 mile race with a strength sapping hill around the eight mile mark, just where you don't want it. The previous weekend I was starting a 7 day course of antibiotics (2,700mg a day and strictly no alcohol) to treat another flare-up of my dreaded Diverticulitis. So, on Monday I went for a ten mile jog around Mossdale to determine whether the old system was in a fit state to race. I decided it was, so filled in a form and, being unable to find his letter box, stuck it through the cat flap of Jim Maxfield's (Entry Secretary) door. I was glad I did.
Race day turned out gloriously sunny, perfect for spectators strolling by the river with an ice cream or bottle of beer in their hands, but a little on the warm side for runners. Ian Fisher led the stampede from the village green with the multi-coloured mass trailing behind like the tail of a comet. It's my local race so there was much calling of my name as the people of Hebden shouted encouragement. Approaching Grassington I tagged onto a purple vested girl called Tania from City of Hull A.C. Due to some neurological problem in the past she'd lost the use of both her legs but was now sufficiently recovered to set just the right pace for yours truly. We ran together until we'd climbed out of Thorpe.
"There's none for you" shouted Little Ken as I approached the water station, but gave me a cup all the same. And I needed it. Shortly afterwards Sarah King of Skipton A.C. rode past on her bike shouting encouragement. She's a far better runner than me so I called after her "Oi, you ought to be in this race" - to which another voice from the side of the road replied "Save your breath yer daft old b-----r". It was my old friend Eric Smith from Otley A.C. who has a habit of using choice language when he sees me. Perhaps it's something to do with me breaking his Northern Vets MV65 10,000 metre track record which he'd proudly held for ten years. I knocked a minute off it! I left Tania in Thorpe, telling her it was now all level or downhill to Burnsall. Her legs were beginning to tire but mine still had sufficient strength to run down an Otley vest I'd focused on some way ahead. I crossed the line in 81.36 - my slowest ever ten mile race but I was quite happy with it considering my poor condition and the fact I'm now the oldest I've ever been!
Runningbear in full flight
For the fifth (or is it sixth) time I was awarded the prize for being the first local to finish the race. Considering the 'local' area stretches from Bolton Abbey to Littondale it seems ludicrous that a 77 year old man is still allowed to lift this trophy in view of the wealth of young talent available. But I'm not complaining. Their loss is my gain.
After the race I had the pleasure of meeting the amazing Runningbear (aka Sarah Jarvis of Bingley Harriers) who'd finished 7th overall to create a new lady's course record in an incredible 59mins 58secs. - a time to be really proud of in this demanding race. I declined the invitation to warm down with her on the grounds my old legs had done quite enough thankyou!
Right, I must start to focus my mind on the Alps. We're flying to Geneva on Thursday and will be camping under the Eiger by nightfall. My Trail shoes are washed and ready!
Full results here:

Postscript.. It later transpired my time of 81.36 was the fastest run by an MV75 throughout the whole of 2009 and put me top of the British Rankings.


  1. hi there, came across your blog via runningbear. congratulations on your result-inspirational :)
    look forward to hearing about your trip to the alps

  2. Hi Kate,
    Thanks for your congrats, though I don't regard myself half so deserving as the brilliant Runningbear.
    Will try my best to find something interesting to put in my blog when I get back from the Alps.

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