The Leeds Abbey Dash, the Poly on tour and a weekend away-what could possibly go wrong?
Race report by Simon Jamison
Running has been going pretty well for me recently so I jumped at the chance to enter the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k on November 16th. Fast you say, sounds good, and it’s flat. Even better. So basically I just turn up and I’m guaranteed a pb. That’s what I like in a race.
So Friday afternoon, myself, Paul Dodds, Paul Richardson and Colin Eberhardt all packed our bags and headed down to Leeds. The Poly were officially on tour and meeting up later in the evening with Steve Marks, Chris Waite, Ricky Davidson, Roger Mosedale, Mark Small, David Quinn and Terry Brown. All was on schedule and going to plan, apart from the small matter of me forgetting my porridge for the morning but it’s not like I forgot my trainers or anything was it? I mean imagine entering a race and packing your running gear and travelling for over an hour to Leeds and then realising you left your trainers at home, I mean go on, actually imagine that sense of panic and dread, no trainers and halfway to Leeds. The shops are shut and won’t open in time in the morning to buy another pair. Can you imagine that Paul Richardson?
Whilst I think about it, can you imagine there being 2 Ibis hotels in Leeds-a lovely clean and smart one 5 minutes from the start line and another ‘budget’ one about 5 miles away? I can’t help thinking to myself that it would be quite funny if a couple of people accidently booked into the wrong one. I would find it funny. What about you Ricky and Roger? I bet you would both laugh at that. Only thing I would find even funnier than that was if instead of a hotel, a couple of the lads accidently booked themselves into a religious retreat run by the Salvation Army! Now that’s the sort of thing I’m sure David Quinn and Terry Brown would laugh at, although they would have to laugh quietly as its lights out at 7pm and no noise after 7:05!
The night before a big race and the beer is flowing, just not at our table. The pints are being drunk at the slowest rate known to man. The locals are so taken aback at a group of Geordies supping the same pints for over an hour they start to gather round and whisper about us, taking photos for the local papers. But we’re athletes, sensible athletes in our prime and race ready. Well all of us apart from David ‘religious retreat’ Quinn who is onto his 14th meal of the day-two Iceland-style party sausage rolls and 3 sweet potato wedges for £8. Can’t argue at value like that.
An early start means an early night and at 8:30 on Sunday morning we are loitering around the start area. Poly vests aplenty are spotted as the Ellis boys, Patrick Houghton, Graeme Cook and Guy Bracken are all out and about warming up nearby. Then into the pens and all the runners are marched to the start line, a quick 5,4,3,2,1 countdown and we’re off.
So is the Abbey Dash fast and flat? Fast it most certainly is and flat it is not. I mean we’re not talking Priory Bank here or even the parkrun hills but a few drags that sap the legs when you’re not expecting them. Race plan for me was to aim for a sub 42:00 and attempt consistent splits for the first half and push on in the second. First half went according to plan and was good to see the fast poly lads on the return leg as I was heading out to the 5k marker. I even managed to give a shout out to Paul ‘I’ve forgotten my trainers’ Richardson.
Second half starts with a nice downhill stretch but mile 4-5 for me was a struggle. Try as I might I just couldn’t close the gap on Ricky ‘budget hotel’ Davidson but I managed to keep ahead of the chasing pack containing Paul Dodds and Roger ‘I booked the wrong Ibis’ Mosedale.
8k done and I’m hurting. Force the pace on a bit and hear the familiar shout of ‘up the poly,’ manage a thumbs up and keep pushing on. Run straight past my hotel. That’s the nice one that’s 5 minutes from the start and not the cheap one 5 miles outside town that Ricky and Roger booked into. Tempted to nip in and have a sit down but I’m nearly done. I come round the final bend and hear the roar of Vaughan Hemy above all the spectators, glance for the first time at my watch and it’s reading just over 41 minutes. Pushed on by Vaughan I start the sprint finish. This really is plimsolls on and eyeballs out time. Imagine a short, white, stocky, sweaty, panting version of Usain Bolt with none of his talent, form or class and that’s me, slapping my feet down hard and breathing so heavy I’m scaring small children. Cross the line, stop my Garmin and glance down at it.
41:59, mission accomplished. Thank God for that.
As for the rest of the Poly it was a great day all round and some amazing performances. In total 24 runners made the trip to Leeds and we were led home by Guy Bracken in a time of 31:43, followed by Graeme Cook 33:14 and Patrick Houghton 34:11. First home for the ladies was Clare Twaddle in 44:19, Louise Turnbull 46:10 and Sylvie Heath in 54:28. It was a great day and a well organised race that I would definitely recommend, so get yourselves entered nice and early for next year and just remember it’s the Ibis Premier hotel you want and whatever you do, don’t forget your trainers.
Full results are at-
And remember plimsolls on and eyeballs out!