Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Arkendale 10K race

Sunnyside farm in the picturesque little village of Arkendale certainly lived up to its name. Blue skies, balmy Spring air and birdsong greeted us as we stepped from the car opposite the 'Bluebell' where the only occupant, a teddy bear, stared at us from the deserted dining room. Everyone else was going to the races. Due, we suspect, to Ripon's Jolly Holly Jog being re-scheduled to the day before the Arkendale race the number of entries was somewhat depleted although a few hardy souls ran both. Consequently, only half the imposed 400 limit lined up at the start which must have been a major disaster for the organisers. We were told the race would not be run again. It's a shame because Arkendale's quiet location is an ideal venue for runners and the whole organisation ran with clockwork precision. In addition to trade stalls there was tea, cakes and a barbeque for hungry runners. I would certainly have run it again.
More silverware for Old Runningfox
I lined up in the middle of the pack and at the appointed hour someone atop an elevated farm trailer shouted 'Go'.  200 runners surged along the slightly uphill farm track and out onto the road. Compared to my usual training routes this was comparatively flat so not much chance of making up ground on the downhill bits. In just over a mile we turned right down a rough track adjacent to the noisy A1 for the next mile or so. Then it was back onto tarmac for the approach to Coneythorpe where a marshall was shouting "93, 94, 95.." and I thought "What a coincidence consecutive race numbers should be running together, must be a block entry from some club...".  Then it dawned on me these were our race positions. Silly me!
Cliff Simm, MV80, at Arncliffe
I lost a couple of positions at the water station when I slowed to a walk to get some fluid down. It really takes my breath away and I struggle to get back into rhythm. Usually I can regain places lost, and so it was on this occasion. Back at Arkendale we were diverted into a vicious loop through a couple of long fields, over a footbridge and along a farm track back to the road. Wearing Roclites I was in my element over the rougher stuff and managed to move up two more places. In the latter stages of the race I cunningly drafted behind a tall well built gentleman I dubbed 'the man in black' and now it was his turn to be shown a clean pair of heels as we arced around the slightly bumpy, grassy field to the 'Finish'. I was 89th of 200 finishers in 51.30 - good enough to pick up yet more silverware for 1st MV70.
After the race I'd the pleasure of meeting Painted Runner - currently in her tapering stage before the London marathon - and the spritely, energetic Cliff Simm of Easingwold Running Club who scooted in to take the MV80 prize.
After a very pleasant day two happy but race-weary runners returned to Hebden for a meal at the Clarendon (courtesy of my wonderful partner's Canadian sister-in-law) that was rounded off nicely with sticky toffee pudding and a celebratory dram of Laphroig before retiring to bed. Racing days don't come much better!
Full results here:


  1. Well done again,Gordon, particularly having run Thirsk. You recovered well! Puzzled that they considered 200 runners not worth going ahead for next year. Just needed more promotion I suspect.
    Unless the aim of the race was to raise funds and they only broke even? Perhaps it was a bit of a hybrid, neither road nor trail and that put runners off as well.

  2. The organization was good considering tea and cakes :) I always lose positions too at the water stations. Beautiful report and I really enjoyed reading it.

  3. It is a lovely race, and its a shame that it wont be run again, well done to you and your other half. it was lovely to meet you.

  4. Congratulations RF! When do you start work on building the extension to house all your trophies?

  5. Congratulations on the hardware!