Monday 22 July 2013

2013 Bentham Beagles Bash....

Temperatures in the high 70's had me struggling a bit last week so I didn't quite get in all the planned training
Swallows on the line in Wednesday's 79º - too hot to fly?
for the weekend's 10K race. An eight mile circuit to Howgill on Monday, and back along the river, went really well. The last four miles were an absolute breeze, so much so that the last steepish hill into the village felt like I was running on the flat. Not so Wednesday's session that should have been a set of fastish repetitions on Castle Hill, but I never got there.  High humidity and 79º really knocked the stuffing out of me and I crawled home, drenched in sweat, after only 3½ miles. I went out earlier on Friday, in a slightly cooler 72º, for a hard earned 4 miles that included just 6 x 200m reps @ 46 secs - which was better than nothing.
Warming up for the Bash...
Then came Sunday's 10K race, the 2nd running of the Bentham Beagles Bash, through beautiful countryside with extensive views to some of North Yorkshire's finest peaks. With 615ft of ascent it's by no means a PB course, probably the reason for the low turnout as most Yorkshire and Lancashire runners preferred to compete a few miles away in Blackpool's flatter and faster 10K Summer Run on the same day. Each to his own, but I strongly preferred the streamlined efficiency, friendliness and facilities of this wonderful little club that has come on leaps and bounds since its formation less than two years ago. If only I lived closer, I'd be proud to be a member.
We left Hebden shrouded in mist and drizzle at 9am to set off north en route for the race venue. The
The feared Mike Walsh....
weather had cooled to a more bearable 60º and I prayed it wouldn't get above 70º. I was feeling a little apprehensive having been informed that my chief rival in the race, a chap called Mike Walsh of Wesham Road Runners, was bang on form after lifting the MV80 title in this year's London Marathon, a win that must surely have boosted his confidence and morale. London attracts runners from all corners of the earth so anyone who wins there is virtually a world champion - which is why I was considering Mike such a formidable opponent. A change of tactics was called for. There would be no hanging about today.
Pacemaker - Jill Noble...with that bottle...
Unlike the Kilburn race, where I started at the back, I lined up just behind the leaders to get a decent start up the initial steep climb into High Bentham and hopefully steal away from any opposition. Then I'd use the flat bit through the town to quickly recover and settle into a pace I could hopefully maintain over the hills ahead. All went according to plan and I felt reasonably comfortable as I ran alongside a local lady through Low Bentham and across the River Wenning towards the second of the many climbs of this undulating course.  Little did I know at that point that this lady, Jill Noble of Bentham Beagles, would become my pace maker for almost the whole of the race for she was running at a pace that suited me ideally. Just what the old man needed!
However, she managed to open up a gap as we passed the water station at just
Old Runningfox - all smiles at the Finish...
over three miles. I was desperate for water and slowed to a walk to ensure I got ¾ of a cup down my throat before pouring the rest over my head.  I gasped as it took my breath away and it took a while to get back into my stride. Meanwhile Jill had ignored the water station and was striding away up the hill 30 or 40 yards ahead. It took another mile or so to catch her and noted she had one of those hand held water bottles which had enabled her to keep going past the water station and gain an advantage. I made a mental note to buy one of those. The climbs carried on relentlessly to the high point at 528ft, just after the 5 mile marker, after which there was a steep downhill mile before the flat run in to the finish.
My wonderful partner - finishing strong..
From here on I really expected the younger Jill to leave me standing but the reverse was the case and I felt a bit rotten about leaving her after she'd pulled me over all the hard bits. But there was still lots of running left in my legs as I set off to overhaul another runner ahead of me who turned out to be Jill's club mate, Ann Butcher, later to be announced winner of the LV65 category.  Approaching the final straight I was amazed to hear my name being called out over the public address system, encouraging me on to a sprint finish. I crossed the line in 57.29, about three minutes slower than last year but nearly 8 minutes ahead of my feared contemporary, Mike Walsh, who'd really posed no threat whatsoever over this shorter distance. I took a picture of him finishing so I'd recognize him if ever I came across him again!
In conclusion I'd like to thank all the wonderful people who made this event the success it turned out to be,
The spoils....
the race committee, marshalls and volunteers, those who baked all the mouthwatering cakes and goodies (especially that yummy coffee cream cake) - and not least that almighty 'someone up there' who kept the temperature below 70º and provided such a refreshing breeze where we needed it most.
Full results here


  1. You'll have the feared Mike Walsh quaking in his trainers now, Gordon! It's great how a supposed opponent can make us chase a little harder! Great run!

    1. Fear of Mike catching me certainly kept me going, especially up hills where I might otherwise have walked a few steps...

  2. Hi Old Runningfox, great posting! I really admire you and your partner, both of you still look good. Great run and very challenging. Good things come to those who work the hardest and refuse to give up. Keep up the good work.

    Have a great week ahead, regards.

    1. Thanks Amelia, and yes, I'm exceedinglylucky to have such a like minded partner. We certainly keep each other going.
      That's another wonderful recipe of yours, by the way. Must eat more fish!

  3. Love that 'shoe' I want one... exciting reading as you were flying over the couse, it read like you were running times of sub 40... or was I just reading it that fast!!!

    1. You were reading far too fast CD, my sub 40 times went by the board a few years ago. My fastest mile on Sunday was a pedestrian 7.53. Must do better, as they say!

  4. Congratulations! I love how you and your beautiful partner are able to enjoy running together - I pray that my husband and I will be able to do the same one day.

    1. Thanks Karien and yes, it is nice to be able to do things together and share each others hobbies. We're very lucky in that repect - as I'm sure you will be - though 'little brother' might clip your wings for a wee while!