My third race of the four was East Leeds 10K, held in the scenic surroundings of St Aiden’s nature reserve. It’s a fairly flat single lap route along wooded paths next to a river then around the lakes of a former open cast mine that is now an RSPB site.
Last year I arrived with the support of Simon and Hannah and a few of my new running friends from South Leeds Lakers, this year I had the support of a lot more Lakers. I know I say this all the time but support from friends, particularly ones as addicted to running as I am, is a great motivator. Yes, I will be the last Laker home, but that makes the cheering louder when they’re all stood at the finish line calling MY name.
Team Lakers and support crew
I set off at a gentle plod and kept that up pretty much the whole way. Km 1 was a supersonic 10.46 min/mile, 2 – 8 averaging at 12.36 min/mile, not a bad pace at all. The final 2km were 11.41 and 11.51 min/mile. So what happened there then ?
Photo courtesy of a fantastic friend and photographer Paul
Support is what happened.
Just past the 7km marker I spotted a figure in black heading toward me, I recognised the running style way before I could see any facial features. It was Steve, cheerleader and coach to the stars, well me, anyway. Plodding along with Steve giving me nuggets of advice and encouragement really helped me forget the aches in my legs.
Then came the 8km marker, I spied four figures and I had an idea who they might be. My Dad had brought the posse along; baby bro Kev, nephew Alfie and niece Emily. I had time to stop for hugs and the kids then joined me for the last mile or so. I knew Alfie could run a mile easily because he’s massively proud of that fact and I was so pleased that Emily managed it too. They found it amazing that they beat me to the finish line, I had to remind them that I had already run 5 miles before they even started ! Reports coming back from their mum assure me that they loved every step.
Me and Dad
Kev and Sarah
The end of the race saw me sprinting to beat a lady who had passed me on the hill just before the finish. Steve hissing at me “come on, you’re not going to let her beat you now are you ?” probably spurred me on just a little bit. Ok, it spurred me on a lot !
As ever, I ended with a sprint which burnt my lungs and made me want to puke much to the amusement of Jenna. Poor Jenna has an injury and isn’t able to run at the moment so volunteering is the next best thing. The sprint was also prompted by the knowledge that there was beer at the finish line.
Jenna and Ray
Finishers beer and medal
So there it is, race 3 of 4 and 9 of 12. The next one is The Big One, Leeds Half Marathon.