Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Kilburn Feast 7 mile race

Bee orchid
     It's been a relaxing weekend of walks by the Wharfe, bee and butterfly orchids, strawberries and cream, raspberry meringues, roast pork and crackling, wines from France and Portugal, bimbling through Burnsall.....and a scenic seven mile race thrown in for good measure.
     It felt good to be back racing again after three months on the sidelines with a dodgy calf muscle. Our recent two weeks holiday in the slightly warmer climate of Cornwall apparently worked wonders, though I must admit to feeling a little anxious, wondering how the affected muscle would react to the stress of racing.  I needn't have worried. All went well.
     It was raining heavily as we arrived in Kilburn. The main street was deserted, stalls were covered and the Start/Finish line across the road was in danger of being washed away. We sat in the car hoping it would abate.  Shortly before the race gaps appeared in the clouds, the sun broke through, the road steamed and runners arrived in their hundreds. After a short warm-up we lined up for the 2 o'clock start. 
At the Start/Finish line on a deserted wet street
     My usual tactics are to set off towards the front of the pack so as not to lose time at the start, then settle into my race pace as the pack thins out before winding things up towards the finish. At Kilburn I started farther back and ran a slower than usual first mile to monitor my recovering calf muscle.
     The route is quite hilly (though the race organiser calls it 'undulating') so my mile splits were rather erratic: 7.52, 8.22, 8.14, 9.12, 8.57, 9.16, 8.08 and 55 secs for the last 351yds. Guess where the hills were.
     I finished in 61.01, about ¾ minute faster than last year, and in 171st place of 308 finishers. After the race we all congregated at the Village Hall for our free sandwiches, cake and tea as we waited for the race adjudicators to compile the results.
Runners passing the White Horse
     Unfortunately, in the MV75 category I was beaten by the same person who beat me last year, the speedy Ian Barnes of Darlington Harriers who also ran a faster time than last year. The good news is, when I run this race next year I'll be competing as an MV80, a category above Ian, so will have two or three years respite before he catches up again.
     In the LV65 category my wonderful partner's 74.56 was only good enough for second place against the excellent 71.07 of Barbara Robins running for Bridlington Road Runners. However, there was consolation for both of us as all finishers over 65 years of age were awarded a free bottle of wine to either celebrate or drown our sorrows, as the case may be. 
     There was a humorous end to these proceedings when, by some oversight, my name failed to appear on the list of twenty nine eligable recipients. 
Courting couple
    "Hey" I shouted as he was about to wrap things up, "I'm 79 so surely qualify for a bottle".
      "Blimey, at your age it's not wine you want mate, it's Sanatogen" he quipped and winked as an excellent bottle of Portugese red was slipped into my hand! According to Stuart Pailor, the race organiser, all their wines are recommended by Jane McQuity of The Times. None of your 3 for £10 rubbish!
    I can highly recommend Kilburn, famous for it's 150 year old White Horse and Mouseman associations, to all who live within travelling distance. The race is run in conjunction with the Village Feast incorporating a hog roast, crockery smashing, children's face painting, a hole in one game, various stalls, a clown and stirring music from a Thirsk band. There is also a quality gift shop and tempting cafe at the Mouseman Centre.  
     Interestingly, according to the race instruction leaflet, car parking depends on the silage harvest!
Full results here:


  1. Good to herar youvee recovered. Well done at Kilburn. Might put on my wish list for next year

  2. I suppose that is the upside to getting older - a new age group to win! Sounds like a lovely day. Glad the calf is feeling better.

  3. So you're improved your time over last year! Wow! I loved the description you have in your post. It sounds so romantic, especially considering that it includes sweaty runners!

    :-) Marion