From travelling 3500 miles the previous week, it was a slightly shorter journey of four miles or six minutes travel time. Huddersfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire, not quite our North Riding but it’s still Yorkshire.
A cloudy but warm morning saw the start at the local YMCA, I was feeling upbeat as I would be running on some familiar roads and seeing some lovely scenery, all this despite the marathon having the reputation as one of the toughest around. It was a new route from my previous two ventures, including the 100th which John Walshaw attended (very kind of him to travel all the way from home).
At the start ready for the off and I was surprised to see a club top – it was Neil Allison doing the half marathon. We chatted about the course and the infamous Steele Lane, far worse than Wilton Bank. Suddenly I heard the count down from ten and we were off. A quick miles or two and soon the rolling hills and ‘Wilton Bank’ all hit us within the first five miles. I was generally pleased to have run up ‘Wilton Bank’ on tip toes ever so slowly and to have hit half way in around two hours. Then downhill onto what I really dislike – canal paths. On these I spend a lot of time just trying to stay on my feet, on this occasion I managed this and only one trip. However the path took its toll and it must have been roughly a six mile stretch. By the time we entered the town centre leaving the canal path with a loop through the University, my mindset was rapidly deteriorating. All that was left was a 600+ foot climb to the finish over four miles. I was shattered. Sadly I had to walk some of this and I hate that but survival was imperative. A guy by the side of the road offered some of us water and later I actually sat on a bench at the Dusty Miller and had a pint of water. It did seem a bit odd that from the base of the 600+ foot to the finish there was no water station. Eventually made it to the top. Dizziness and leaden legs overcome, it was a slight downward gradient to the finish. As it turned out I beat a friend who was speeding up to catch me by one second. A very bad day at the office; haven’t suffered on a ‘road’ marathon like this for a very long time.
Glad I did the run, might be the last time I do this one – water station provisions, the second half of the route, very poor mile markers. Onto Wakefield in thirteen days, no canal paths that I can think of and still in our county or is that country of Yorkshire?
Terry finished in a time of 4:56:44 while Neil finished the half in 2:15:13 (ED)