Brighouse Running Festival,
Sunday, 8 October, 2017.
Slipping out of his house at dusk was Northowram Puma Mark Brook to chance his luck at the inaugural Cannonball-organised Brighouse Running Festival. Many of us knew about this event, but with several runners away on duty in York and elsewhere, others not inspired by the route, or some feeling it was just too late in the day, Mark was the club’s sole representative at the event. Mind, he didn’t go alone. His pal Simon Hardaker may have been planning a relaxing Sunday evening watching ‘X-Factor’ until Mark knocked on his door, but Mark is, if nothing else, quite persuasive.
There were races held over 1k, 2k and 4k, but Mark proved he was no shirker by pitching himself into the 10k race which set off at 7.15pm, surely the latest start time of an organised run any Puma has taken part in. Setting off at the Calder Pub opposite Sainsbury’s in Brighouse, the route was a straightforward three sets of Wakefield Road to the motorway and back. The event boasted a course that was “fast, straight and very few turns,” with the “opportunity to race on a weekend evening on fully closed, well-lit roads.” So this was a new experience. But as someone pointed out, it looked like the middle of the night when he finished. Mark retorted: “It felt like the middle of the night when we set off!”
Mark’s been putting in the time in training and has come on leaps and bounds. He’s been running in groups and often found himself at the front, but he hasn’t left it there. Pleasing Ian Marshall no end, Mark’s become honed in the art of looping, something that is not only encouraging for the slightly slower runners, but also gets him to up his own mileage. And this is paying dividends.
It was in March that Mark competed in his last race at this distance, the Epilepsy Action Bradford 10k, when he finished in 1 hour 2:32. At Brighouse, he knocked over a whopping seven-a-half minutes off this time to finish in 54:52, coming home 112th out of 184 runners.
And here’s a man whose glass is clearly half-full. Feeling proud as punch with his performance, and as the Pumas’ sole runner, Mark was quick to point out that this, in fact, made him #FPH. Who would beg to differ? After all, there was no other Puma there to offer another viewpoint.