West Side Retail Park, Guiseley
A beautiful 360 degree panoramic vista, with such landmarks as Halfords, NEXT, Argos and McDonalds.
Unlike most other races, both myself and Lesley were not the first humans in existence at the race location/HQ. In fact we were beaten by Andy Kindleysides, whom apparently camped out over night in an attempt to win this coveted title from ourselves.
The weather was beautiful. The sun was shining, the wind was none existent. Perfect running conditions.
Facilities were great, with easy almost Q-less access to the McDonalds toilets. Well for the men anyway, the ladies are always a mile long, what actually takes them so long?
I was tempted to grab a McMuffin, but resisted the urge.
The turn out for the race was fantastic, and obviously a lot had turned up and signed up on the morning. STACies were in abundance also and extremely easy to spot and find. A great pre race group photo was taken and everyone looked great and raring to go.
At about 10.15am, we all stated our way to the start. Which seemed like an epic journey across many lands and environments. It seemed to take forever to get to the start line. This was probably the most dangerous part of the race and the muddiest. Needing all our skills to get to the start without falling over. Great fun though 🙂
And then no sooner had we got to the start, the horn sounded, and we were off…..
The first stretch was quite amusing, as many took an alternative route and started vaulting concrete railway sleepers at the side of the road rather than take the muddy route. Which honestly, was a lot more fun. I’m not sure if Jude Jackson took advantage of this vaulting technique with his unique power jumping skills.
We passed close to a sewage works at some point Im sure, as there was a distinct smell in the air. Either that our a nearby runner had succumb to the dreaded runners trots.
Talking of trots. Just before we all got to that cool narrow bouncy bridge, that even I’m a Celebrity would have been proud off. A lady beside me veered off to the side and decided she needed to have a poo right in front of everyone that was lining up at a standstill to cross the bridge. No one batted an eyelid, so I can only presume this is some sort of running etiquette and is fully acceptable. I may even try this myself at the Leeds Half at some point.
Running along the canal is always one of my favourite locations, and the next long stretch took us along some lovely scenic views. The space opened up a little bit here, and allowed many to gain some time and move up in position, including myself as I had started far to near the back and succumb to quite a few bottlenecks.
Next up was the Emmerdale village (Esholt). This was a great section, as there were quite a few people out and about cheering us all on. Quite a few little hilly bits here too, but nothing compared to what lay just around the corner…
At last, the first hill was approaching, and you could see the runners in front steadily winding their way up what looked like quite a steep hill. Hill!?!?! it was the like the side of a mountain!!! At this point only the stronger runners were able run their way up this section, that did seem to go on for quite a while. But most, and myself chose to walk a the last bit of this hill. My legs just are not strong enough yet to tackle such a vertical cliff face and survive intact
Finally at the top, it levelled off a little and we could start getting a bit of speed up once more. This was actually one of my favourite sections. Well, apart from the man who jumped out of the bushes with his Green Party banner. No idea what he was shouting at us, as I did not hang around long enough to find out!
After a lovely run through a forest section, which was a little muddy, but nothing major, the incline started to increase. At this point and by looking at the distance on my watch, I knew the very steep section we had walked down at the start was rapidly approaching. Sure enough, there it was. But strangely enough, most, including myself found this final steep hill quite easy, and with superb support from the STACies on the top of the hill we all powered up the hill with ease. I even had a massive smile on my face all the way up.
Finally at the top, and the last stretch to the finish line was a breeze. Loads of cheering from the spectators and more STACies was awesome. As usual a fast sprint finish was applied and I shot across the finish line in style, as did all STACies that had been running. Superb performances by everyone on what was a very challenging course indeed.
Only one last thing to do, was grab our finishers beer, or wine if you were unlucky enough to get there after the beers had run out.
A beer!?!?! ….yep worth every minute of pain. Awesome morning, with awesome friends.
29 STACies took part and all did fantastic, well done all.
First male STACie across the finish line was Richard T Herrington he came in at position 3 with a finishing time of 00:37:28
First female STACie across the finish line was Sarah Morley she came in at position 199 with a finishing time of 00:52:24
Until the next race…..