Tuesday 9 July 2013

Kilburn Feast 7 mile road race......

    Typical isn't it, we get back from a cold, windy holiday in the supposedly warmer climes of the south west
Turning the hay - over my garden wall...
coastal region to find some of the best weather is right here in our own back yard. Yorkshire boasted some of the highest temperatures in Britain last week which, at times, reduced me to a crawl. Farmers were making the most of the perfect conditions to cut and harvest their hay whilst the garden was humming with bees as I set out for last Tuesday's intervals - 18 x 200m - high on Castle Hill where I'd hoped for a little breeze.  They were the slowest for some time, 47's as opposed to my usual 44's, but it was important to get them done before the weekend race. My only other session was a bumbly five miles mainly in the shade of local woods. 
Busy bee on the Astrantia...
All this was in preparation for Sunday's Kilburn Feast 7 mile road race. If I said I enjoyed it I'd be a liar, it was one of the hardest races I've ever done. To be fair, the organisers had no idea it was going to be the hottest day of the year when they scheduled the Start for 2pm - when temperatures would just about reach their highest. I stayed in the shade until minutes before the 'Off' then positioned myself at the very back of the line-up. I was willing folk to get out of the way as the hooter sounded in case the sweeper vehicle ran over my heels!
    As the crowd thinned I dodged through widening gaps while at the same time keeping to the right side of the road where leafy hedges and occasional trees offered some scant shade. Such was the intense heat that several runners called it a day after the first mile or so, and walked back to the Start. I determined to run until the first water station at around 3½ miles, then take a short walk break up the steepish hill that followed. I grabbed two cups of water, one to drink and another to pour over my head and shoulders whilst endeavouring to keep up with others whose running pace was little faster than my walk. Shortly afterwards a car cruised alongside: "Anyone need water?" a kindly gentleman asked. Affirmative. I took a huge swig from a large bottle whilst others preferred to pour it over their heads. 
    In another mile a sympathetic gardener had attached a sprinkler to a hosepipe and invited runners to take a
Poised (or posed) for the 'Off'...
refreshing shower. I saw a wonderful rainbow as I ran through it. Like many others, I was in survival mode through the next water station and on towards the Finish. Time and placings had become irrelevant. A lady runner I passed was uttering moans and cries more appropriate to a bedroom scene in a steamy erotic film than a sweltering Sunday afternoon road race - though her expression didn't quite match the former!  The lady from a house beside the road, ladling icy water over runner's heads, could have cooled her down.
    The cheering crowd was a most welcome sound as we approached the Finish and I was mighty glad of the water bottle thrust into my hand as I crossed the line. But best of all was a slightly sadistic lady with a vicious hosepipe in the pub yard. "Go on, soak me" I said. And she certainly did!  I ran to the car, towelled down and changed into dry shoes and clothes before setting off down the road to photograph my wonderful partner as she struggled to the Finish. A runner was flat out on the grass verge with a St John's ambulance crew attending to him. Earlier, a lady runner had collapsed in the road around the 3 mile mark and needed urgent attention from knowledgeable medics. She got it as an ambulance quickly arrived on the scene.
Receiving my £20 voucher and bottle of wine.....
Meanwhile, back at the Finish, the local Women's Institute had put on a wonderful post race spread in the Village Hall - a variety of free sandwiches, fruit cake and flapjacks with lashings of hot sweet tea to counteract the shock! I munched my way through thick tuna sandwiches to get some protein into the system to repair the damage - though I'm not sure it worked!  The car thermometer read 30º as we left Kilburn but dropped to 27º on the way home. It had been a brute of a race so I was quite chuffed to come away with a £20 voucher and bottle of wine for winning the M80 category and working my way forward to 176th of 247 finishers. It just goes to show, there's life in the old dog yet - though one might not have thought so if they'd seen a somewhat crumpled figure dozing in his rocking chair - wishing it was time for bed.  Zzzzzzzzzz.....


  1. Hi Old Runningfox, great posting. Congratulation on your accomplishment, I'm so impressed you did a good job. Way to go!

    Stay young at heart always. Have a great week ahead.

  2. You continue to inspire - well done on a very good placing on such a sweltering day!

  3. In one or 2 of the races I've run I started last and jogged past lots of guys it's always a great way to run. always nice to walk away with a bottle of wine!!!

  4. Fantastic achievement, great read and hugely inspiring as always. All the best & hope you enjoyed that well deserved bottle of wine :-)

  5. Well done... really tough running in those conditions.

  6. Hi Gordon! Just catching up on your recent posts after my holiday! Well done for doing so well, given the circumstances! Like you I have a race on Sunday coming and, with the heat as it is, I'm trying to look forward to it and write it off as a nice run in the sun. I'm inspired by your intervals. I think I need to find a place nearby that I can run reps out of the watchful eyes of passing motorists and passers by and not also have to travel I to town. I think I know the ideal spot!

    Good luck on Sunday - I'll look forward to reading your report.