Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
York 10k 2022
by Russell Turner - 15:05 on 07 August 2022
With luck, today’s York 10k proves that my 14-mile long run debacle was just a blip, and when I try it again I’ll cruise round. I can dream.
The latest (solo) trip to God’s Own Country I’d estimated would take around 7.5 hours. The reality was more than an hour on top of that thanks to roadworks as early as Slochd, then slow-moving traffic approaching Perth, on the Edinburgh ring road, and sundry other spots. Deep joy. A 30min break at Jedburgh was welcome.
So it was 6.45 on Friday when I arrived at the Avondale Guest House on Bishopthorpe Road, by chance equidistant from the two places I’d lived in York. Carole, the owner, was friendly, the room decent, and the B&B a mere three minutes’ walk to Lal Quila Indian Restaurant where I reminded myself of one of the advantages of city living.
Saturday found me catching up with family, and back in York too late for the easy pre-race run I’d half planned, so instead I walked for a couple of miles around Rowntree Park, haunt of many other strollers, a gang of yoof in the skate park, and a good-sized flock of incontinent barnacle geese which cropped the grass and ignored the humans. The paths were a guano slalom course.
One of the strollers sported a 2019 London Marathon shirt, so some chat was inevitable. Strangely, he wasn’t taking part in the 10k and hadn’t even heard of it until the day before.
Spicy food the night before the race seemed unwise so I settled for a Sainsbury picnic in my room while watching more Commonwealth Games.
Next morning I had time for yoghurt and porridge before walking the mile to the start at Knavesmire where I eased into the sub-1hr section with 10mins to go. Five minutes after that the section was swamped with late arrivers, pushing me back behind the 1:05 pacers. No problem. Five minutes after that, the hysterical warm-up and start countdown over, we shuffled forward, jogged over the start line and speeded up a little as the congestion eased.
By the time I passed Avondale, where I received an enthusiastic wave from Carole, I was running steady and at a comfortable pace I kept up for the first five miles, with no need to stop at water stations thanks to my hand-held bottle. Sadly, the leak I discovered on the way to the start means it was the bottle’s final outing.
Along the way I passed (and was sometimes passed by) a variety of 10k shirts and vests, and a couple of Yorkshire 10 Mile shirts. There was even a Muir of Ord Jogscotland shirt, its owner now living in Yorkshire, but mine seemed to be the only Yorkshire Marathon shirt. Maybe other runners didn’t like to boast.
The final mile, with my sub-1hr in sight, was the fastest of all (by a modest 40 seconds), which proves how much difference a target makes – as does warm, dry weather and an occasional refreshing breeze. Shortly after finally catching the 1hr pacers, I crossed the line in a chip time of 58:57. Perfect.
The one-mile walk back to the B&B – accompanied part of the way by an enthusiastic Irish York resident who’d just completed his first 10k – and a shower helped keep my legs loose but they seized up a little later on while I enjoyed a celebratory pizza and salad in the city centre, resplendent in my finisher’s shirt, having nodded knowingly on the way there to similarly attired passers-by. The walk back loosened them again but my left ankle might be troublesome tomorrow. Time will tell.
I could have spent the afternoon wandering around a sun-bathed York, walking the walls or taking a look at the refurbished Clifford’s Tower. Instead, I’m lazing in my room and listening to the choir practice that drifts into it from somewhere nearby. I need my rest now I’m 64.
Later, I have to decide whether to return to Lal Quila tonight, or favour another nearby Indian I’ve frequented in the past, or choose a different cuisine altogether. Such decisions. I’ll make the most of the good life before embarking on the return journey tomorrow. I’ve earned it.
Under an hour you should be very 👏 I am.
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