Tuesday 26 July 2011

Harrogate 10K road race

     There wasn't a cloud in the sky as we set off to run the Harrogate 10K road race on Sunday. The lightest of breezes was struggling to turn the lofty turbines as we passed the wind farm near Kettlesing. We parked by Valley Gardens, resplendent with summer flowers, where runners were already beginning to warm up though the race was still more than an hour away.
     We walked to the Start/Finish area to view the list of runners and assess the opposition. Was the speedy Ian Barnes entered - the MV75 Darlington Harrier who beat me at Kilburn? No. Was Barbara Robins there, the LV65 Bridlington Harrier who beat my wonderful partner at Kilburn? Yes, drat! However, we discovered it didn't really matter for either of us when we read the Prize list pinned to the notice board. Although both the Entry Form and Harrogate Harrier's website said there were prizes in ALL VETERAN CATEGORIES this was simply not the case. We were a little annoyed to find there was neither an MV75 or LV65 category. Another lady was complaining there was no LV55 category - not that she'd any chance of winning it, she said, but chance would be a fine thing!  The race director apologized when I had a word with him and intimated an MV80 category might be introduced next year! Perhaps they might also print a true list of prize categories on their entry forms. 
Old Runningfox - storming home
     However, we were there, it was an absolutely beautiful day, so we might as well make the most of it. As we jogged to the Start a gentleman from the Harrogate Advertiser insisted on taking our photograph for publication in his paper. We can't imagine why.
     With over 500 runners crammed into a narrow street things were a bit congested so I stationed myself just behind the 40 minute marker to get a reasonably good start. I'm not sure why because the first two miles are predominantly uphill so I couldn't run very fast anyway, but at least I could get into my race pace sooner.
     Whether it was the heat or my lack of fitness, I was struggling so much on those first two miles I was wondering however I'd repeat them on the second lap? Thankfully, on turning into Cornwall Road I was able to recover on the gentle downhill back into the Town centre where there was a welcome drinks station. I knew without looking at my watch that I was slowing down the second time around but, strangely enough, I was beginning to pass some very weary looking runners a few of whom were taking walk breaks. I breathed an audible sigh of relief as I turned down Cornwall Road for the last time, knowing it was downhill, with the exception of the last 80 yards, all the way to the Finish. 
     How is it, in the last couple of hundred yards of a race, I seem to change from a clapped out old Morris Minor to a sleek supercharged Porsche? As I lengthened my stride to ease past the flying Emma Prentis of Edinburgh University the race commentator shouted my name, announcing me as the oldest man in the race, and invoking loud applause as I stormed over the line in 51.47 - 298th of 541 finishers. On a demanding course, and on a hot day, my wonderful partner was quite happy with her 62.32 in 484th position overall.
     Unofficially (because there isn't a category) I 'think' I hold the MV75 course record at Haroogate - 48.04 set in 2009 - but I'm sure the incredible Harold Dobson, who took the MV70 prize in 48.19 on Sunday, will have something to say about that when he moves into the MV75 category this September.
     Most unusually, we didn't stay around for the prize giving. Although it would have felt great to lie on the grass in that wonderful atmosphere we made our way home to soak up the sun and re-hydrate in our own garden. 
     The Harrogate 10K is a wonderful race, excellently organised and well marshalled, one we shall undoubtedly run again when, hopefully, they'll have the courage to abide by what they proclaim in their advertising material - prizes in ALL veteran categories.
Full results here:


  1. Congrats on running such an amazing race! Sorry about there not having an age group category for you. That is a bummer but it is a good thing that you spoke to the race director:) I love the picture of you running! You look like a strong runner and check out that great running form!

    Also, I just read your comment about my Warrior Dash! Bless your heart for telling me that I am young! I could so give you a hug right now:) Still smiling! Take care of yourself!

  2. What a great picture of you! Wow, you're something! --even with age not considered.

    :-) Marion

  3. Just discovered your web site! Excellent!! I've been running for quite a while myself. I do not have a list of accomplishments as yourself, but I have run on five continents, and have run most every day for over 30 years! Nice to see it may be a good idea :-)

  4. That's a great finish time! Congrats!

  5. Very well done Old Running Fox, a fine run in taxing conditions and a great race pic to remember the day by too. Hope to be able to join you other there again soon. RB

  6. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

    Diet For Diabetics