Cracking conditions for this local 23 mile 3000′ LDWA event from Guiseley. Very little wind, no rain and the ground was hard enough from recent frosts to keep the feet mostly out of deep, muddy puddles.
This year there were no police to escort us across the busy A65, so we all assembled by the side of the retail park. A far more sensible place to start and made little difference overall. I stood next to Greg and Gareth and we looked at a strong field. No chance of a repeat top 10 finish this year.
The first 3 miles were relatively easy going after the usual rush through Esholt woods and I was just behind the front four as we got on to Baildon golf course. The stretch across here then pulled the runners out a bit and I found myself running alone in 7th place past Harvey Smith’s gallops and onto Ilkley moor for the long slog up to the Lanshaw Lad checkpoint.
A gel lifted me for the dispiriting slabbed section to Whetstone Gate. From here I could vaguely see the Bingley runner ahead. But he was soon gone and I was reliant on course knowledge for navigation from here onwards. Taking the path to the left of the wall I fell in a deep ice encrusted pool, cutting shins and twisting my right ankle. This slowed me down as I picked my way down the other side of the Moor on the icy rocky ground, turning my ankle a couple of times.
The lack of wind allowed for fast running and having shaken off the fall and ankle rolls I felt comfortable on the trails past White Wells and through an occasionally treacherous Rocky Valley. Thinking I was running completely on my own I was a little dismayed to hear a runner call my name from behind just before the Burley Woodhead checkpoint. Turning around I could see it was Greg and he caught me up soon after, claiming that he didn’t know the rest of the route and had to catch me. In truth it was good to have a bit of company after nearly two hours of solo running.
We pushed one another along through the ginnels of Menston and the haul up to East Chevin Road before the long drop to the bottom. The climb up the Chevin is never easy, especially after 20 miles. We mixed running with walking and met with Laura half way up who offered the encouraging words that the leaders run all the way up. So a redoubling of efforts and we just about ran from the midway checkpoint to York Quarry. At this point we were at 2.40 with about a mile and half left. My aim had been a sub 3 hour time and that was well within reach so long as I didn’t bonk. Could we get under 2.50?
We ran as hard as legs with 21 miles in them would let us. Greg’s watch suggested we did those last miles at 5.40 pace, which isn’t bad, finishing together in joint 7th/8th for 2.49. We were pretty pleased with that. Especially Greg who used sharp elbows to get to the desk first and grab 7th place officially..
If you’ve not done this before, pencil it in for next year. It’s relaxed and offers good fast running. The organisers put on a slick event and if you are not after a time or place ther eis plenty of opportunity to enjoy tea and cake as you go round. It is also a great warm up event for longer spring runs like Edale Skyline and the 3 Peaks.
- 56 Graham Pearce 02:38:38
- 49 Frank Beresford 02:39:39
- 78 Colin Walker 02:39:39
- 261 Dan Wilkinson 02:45:15
- 121 Richard Pattinson 02:45:15
- 15 Tom Gomersall 02:48:10
- 569 Greg Weatherhead 02:49:54
- 146 Dominic Nurse 02:49:54
- 297 Edward Davies 02:56:07
10 105 Neal Edmondson 02:56:07
Gareth had a great first run to come in at 3.30.52 and Allison and Cat also had good results with 3.37.49 and 3.45.10.