Category Archives: Competitive Running

Battling the elements in Blackpool

Sunday 21 February 2016 saw 2 Pumas brave the elements and take on the Blackpool half marathon.

Andrew tells us more about his seaside race (hopefully he managed to avoid the stags, hens and doughnuts!):

Sunday morning saw an early rise, quick breakfast and out of the door to pick up Deke and begin the one and half hour drive to Blackpool.

We arrived in Blackpool at around 9:45am not really knowing where we were going but just heading for the famous Tower. We parked the car and headed to McDonald’s for a quick coffee and a toilet stop and we saw some fellow runners who advised us that the registration and start was about 1 mile up the coast.

Back to the car to change into the running gear and after feeling the wind and rain, deciding to keep the running jackets on. We had a steady 1 mile jog up to the registration area were we realised that running North wasn’t going to be that problem but the South run was going to be very difficult.

When we arrived at the registration it was a few tables set out under the promenade with a fenced off area for the baggage storage and some long queues for the few portaloos which were available.

We collected our race numbers, pinned them on, dumped our bags and went to join the queue for the loos. We could see that the wind was wild and the waves were crashing up onto the sea front:

Waves crashing over the sea front
Waves crashing over the sea front

It was that bad that the 1 mile marker which was next to the sea and already washed over with the waves.

After a quick chat with the race starter we realised that we were going to be running along the sea front, waves and all, for half of the race and against the fierce winds on the cliff tops for the other half.

The race consisted of 2 loops of the bottom part of the course, followed by 2 loops of the top part of the course before finishing in the bottom part of the course against the wind.

Fellow runners
Fellow runners waiting for the race

Rest of the runners at the start line
Rest of the runners at the start line

At first we thought that repeating loops might be a bit boring and take some of the enjoyment out of the race but it actually helped to break up the running, and meant that we spend some time running with the wind and some time running against it.

Right at the front for the start
Right at the front for the start

We thought running with the wind would be a welcome change, and it probably made us a bit quicker, but there were frequent waves crashing over the tops of our heads and we heard quite a few screams from men and women along the course.

Running into the wind must have added around 4 or 5 minutes to the the time and I was taken clean off my feet at one point and blown to the side but we both still managed get new Half Marathon PB’s!!

Deke completed the race in 1:33:18.2 and Andrew finished in 1:48:06.2.

Start line selfie
Obligatory start line selfie

This is definitely a course to break PB’s…..if it isn’t too windy!!

Dewsbury 10K, Personal Bests and Dodging Cars

Well the race is season definitely upon us with races coming up thick and fast… Mel and I decided to try our luck at the Dewsbury 10K.

The race started at 9am with hardly any wind and the sun came out to play too was the perfect setting for us to get our PB’s.

Lucky Numbers - Matt and Melissa's personal best race numbers
Lucky Numbers – Matt and Melissa’s personal best race numbers

We took the first two miles nice and steady while we settled into the race and then began to pick up the pace, we had a slight hiccup with a few cars driving on the closed road but we didn’t let that detract from our effort on our search for a PB

The course it’s self was a fast and flat out and back in, very well marshalled plenty of water at the feed stations. Definitely worth a go and hopefully we can make a team event of it!

Here’s a map of the route.

We both came in to the finish with a sprint and a cheer from the other runners.

Our official times were:

  • Mel: 56.17
  • Matt: 50.03

Marathon bloggers

Ever wondered how much training, dedication and, lets face it, pain, goes into training for and running a marathon?

Well, wonder no more, 2 of our Pumas are here to answer all your questions!

Adam Standeven and Andrew Tudor will both be blogging about their training in the lead up to their marathon debuts at the Virgin London Marathon on 24 April 2016.

To visit their blogs just click the links below:

Their blogs will chronicle the ups and downs of training for a marathon. And hopefully they’ll inspire you to take your own challenge in 2016.

If you’d like to make their hard work worth it, both Adam and Andrew will be raising money for some great charities. You can find links to their sponsorship pages by visiting their blogs.

Auld Lang Syne Fell Race

Most girls (generalising a bit here) spent their New Year’s Eve day getting glammed up, I’m talking taking a relaxing bath and doing their nails while having a cheeky glass of wine. Lucky them!

I spent my News Years Eve day running up some very muddy fells. The WoodenTops Auld Lang Syne race started on the hills just outside Oxenhope.

Beautiful scenery near Oxenhope
Beautiful scenery near Oxenhope

Caution! First time fell runner
Caution! First time fell runner

After scaling the slopes of a quarry to the sound of bagpipes it was onto the fells.

Lulled into a false sense of “oh, this isn’t too bad”, after the first mile of gentle path and downhill the next 4ish miles were pretty much a brutal uphill slog. It turns out fell running is much harder than good old road running. If you’re not going uphill, you’re wading through some very boggy fields!

After 6.7 miles I was well and truly knackered. But, as hellish as it sounds, the scenery was beautiful and the atmosphere and encouragement from other, much more experience runners, was really positive. Plus, as a reward there was a bottle of beer for all the runners!

My time wasn’t amazing and I finished about 10 places in front of last place, but it was (I’ll grudgingly admit) kind of fun. And I definitely earned my New Years champagne!

Leeds Abbey Dash

Another wet weekend, another hardy bunch of Northowram Pumas battling against the elements.

Sunday 15th November saw four members run the Leeds Abbey Dash 10K. A fast and flat route from Leeds city centre out to Kirkstall Abbey and back.

  • Shaun Casey – 43m 53s
Shaun and his daughter after finishing the Dash
Shaun and his daughter after finishing the Dash









  • Rachael Sherwood – 48m 15s
  • Katie Lumb – 57m 53s
  • Matt Newton – 58m 17s

Harewood Trail Race

November has been a busy month for the Pumas.

Harewood 10 and 5 mile trail race

On a pretty horrible (and that’s putting it mildly, we’re talking wind, rain, cars getting stuck in mud sort of weather) Sunday morning on 8 November four and a half intrepid Pumas took on the Harewood trail race. A multi terrain race around the beautiful even in that weather) Harewood estate in Leeds.

Three members completed the 10 mile trail race, with some pretty impressive times:

Luke Cranfield – 1h 11m 29s

Luke doing his best running Fonzie impression









Adam Standeven – 1h 15m 33s

Adam sporting a rather muddy look after completing his 10 miles










Shaun Casey – 1h 20m 8s

And one member completed the 5 mile trail race:

Ally Canning – 47m 27s








And Finley Canning, a young honorary Puma, completed a 2 mile race in a smashing time of 17m 33s