Who: A selection of awesome Pumas

Where: Dewsbury

When: 5 February 2017

How far: 10k (plus a bit extra for good measure)

Over to Johnny…..who manages to be at every Puma appearance at every race. Dedication!

One of the most eagerly awaited races on the running calendar is the Dewsbury 10k. It’s a particular favourite of most who run it, and it’s hard to see why. A smooth out and back, none too testing, and great for upping your PBs. I’d never done it before, so I was eager to put all these theories to the test.

Race morning

T’was another cold morning when we awoke, but then again, we’re only just into February, so what would you expect? I left my house a 7.33am and made my way to Matt Newton’s, where we were collected by Debbie Fox in a roomy Audi. Simon Wilkinson conveniently dropped off Matt’s running gear (which he’d had since Friday) before making his way around to the club to cadge a lift off Neil Coupe. Just for good measure, Rachael Hawkins jumped in too. En route to Dewsbury, we stopped off to pick up Shana Emmerson. Of the four of us in the car, only Matt had done this race before and we relied on his navigational skills to get us there. These were, however, suspect, and Debbie was flicking on the sat-nav before we’d even hit Brighouse roundabout.

We arrived in Dewsbury town centre and looked around the obvious parking spots. Debbie cheekily snuck into Sainsbury’s parking lot, and evidently got away with it. Seven of us trooped across to the Sports Centre for the obligatory loo visit before making our way to the start, where we had our pre-race photo shoot taken by Queensbury’s Andy Smith, who wasn’t running due to injury. We met up with Alison Pearce and spied Melissa Hall and Sarah Firth on the starting blocks. Typically, we were situated somewhere near the rear, an obvious Pumas’ trait, but with our race numbers coming with accompanying chips (no fries) nobody was going to fool us with false finishing times. Also running on behalf of the Pumas was Paul Pickering, although it must also be pointed out that Carine Baker was a late withdrawal, whilst Neil Coupe himself was running in place of the unwell Vicky Owen, doubtless faster but less glam.

Pre-race, running in all the glam locations

Assuming everyone finished the race, there were 1,081 competitors, so as one would imagine, once the gun had started, it took us some time to reach the start line. We could see the elite bombing off, and in time it would be our turn (though ‘bombing’ in our case is a term loosely used). Off we set, around six miles ahead of us. At least we would start to feel warmer once we were under way.

Of the course itself, there’s little to make it sound really exciting. It was a straight run down the A652 Bradford Road towards Batley, passing such crowd-drawing attractions as Dewsbury Auto Salvage, Beds Direct, Skopos Retail Furnishings, Lala’s Kashmiri Cuisine and Tesco Batley Express. Further along the route on the way out was Batley Grammar School (where my cousin Paul is Assistant Head, just saying) and a little further along, the entrance to the impressive Wilton Park, though we had little time to survey its beauty.

Mid race low down

I was soon into my rhythm, though the chances of me keeping pace with Neil and Matt was a forlorn one. I did so for the first half mile, but after that I just had to let them get on with it. Paul Hopkinson, running for Halifax Harriers, also passed me early on, but this run was about what I could achieve for myself, with the notion that the course was pretty flat and my personal best at such a distance standing at 49:54 (set at the Epilepsy Action event in Bradford last March) there to be broken. Ahead of me was Alison Pearce, who’d managed to get away from the start a while before I did, and she seemed to be flowing.

I kept Alison in my sights for most of the outward journey, offered encouraging words when she briefly stopped around two and a half miles in, then watched her pass me a minute later! The sight of Neil and Matt (or should that be the other way around?) on the other side of the road making the return trip was encouraging; they’d never been miles in front of me and this told me the turning point wasn’t too far away. When we reached it, I took Alison on the inside and got my head down.

I can’t speak for everyone, but the road back in seemed easier than the road out, in that we were now, initially, running ever so slightly downhill. I tried to take in all the landmarks, but that was a hopeless task in itself, because I simply couldn’t remember where or when I’d passed them earlier! Best just carry on regardless. Knowing the turning point had been around halfway, I knew that we had the equivalent of a parkrun to do, though the watering station about half a mile after that did throw me somewhat.

Whilst on my way back in, I spied in turn Simon, Melissa, Rachael and Sarah still making the outward journey, though I must have been deep in concentration to miss Debbie and Shana. On we plodded, each step closer to home. With about a mile to go, I overtook Diane Waite, something I’ve never done before, and in time I noticed several runners now walking in my direction; they’d already finished and were making their way home or to their cars, or to just anywhere. It wasn’t important, although it did give me a sense that the finishing line couldn’t have been too far away. Then the crowds increased in number and their applause grew louder. The end was near, if you know what I mean.

Johnny nearing the finish line

 

Rachael gliding over the finish line

To confirm this, a female runner, whom I later discovered went by the name of Marie Lees, told me that the finishing line was just beyond the approaching archway. I quickened up and passed her, and sure enough as we went under the railway arch, the finishing line was there ahead of us. Suddenly, she made a bolt for it but I was having none of it and kicked with her. Our sprint took us away from runners behind us, and before we knew it, we were gobbling up two chaps who were casually approaching the line. We caught both of them and I think my own kick had just brought me in ahead of her. It was a satisfying end to what I felt had been a comfortable run. An old friend of mine, Dave Waite (husband of Diane) greeted me over the line and remarked that my sprint finish had just got me under fifty minutes. But that was the gun-time. My chip time would be better than that.

I went off to start my recovery, taking the bottled water, then going to pick up my dishy and illuminating pink souvenir T-shirt. Mushy Cade the Running Machine has nothing on these, I thought whimsically. I joined Matt and Neil, and soon Simon joined us. The other runners came in thick and face, with Sarah Firth being #LPH. Then the chip time results started coming through, and bizarrely, and quite randomly, I was informed by Debbie that my result had just showed up on her phone: 48 minutes 42 seconds. To coin a phrase often uttered by Matt Newton: I’m happy with that. Matt, for his part, had been first Puma home in 44:56 (a personal best, to boot), with Neil Coupe not far behind in 45:15, though here we felt there were some sour grapes. “I was robbed,” he later exclaimed (though what of, no one was entirely sure). He felt that the course was longer than 10k, but no one else seemed to have been mithered.

Once we’d posed for Andy Smith once more in our bright pink T-shirts we made the trek back to our cars.

Everyone looking super stylish in their finishers t-shirts

Then it was time to head home, though not before six of us had pulled up at the Enchanted Wood at Kershaw Garden Centre. It was like a scene from The Sweeney. But we were only here for brekky, and a full English seemed to be the order of the day. Debbie was evidently happier with her 10k finishing time (though not a PB) than she was with her fried egg, and returned it with the accompanying words of something along the lines of “Make sure the egg yolk is hard, OK?” She’s sometimes a tough one to please. But we got there in the end.

Enjoying a proper athletes re-fuelling the correct way

Finishing positions and times of the Pumas:

  • 413 Matt Newton 44:56
  • 428 Neil Coupe 45:15
  • 559 Johnny Meynell 48:22
  • 589 Alison Pearce 49:28
  • 698 Debbie Fox 52:13
  • 709 Simon Wilkinson 52:37
  • 813 Shana Emmerson 55:04
  • 831 Melissa Hall 55:59
  • 915 Paul Pickering 59:40
  • 916 Rachael Hawkins 59:43
  • 950 Sarah Firth 01:01:12

Johnny, Our Winter League correspondent and his coverage of the penultimate race of the 2016/17 series…. 

Following the shenanigans at Oakwell Hall a fortnight earlier, order was restored when Queensbury Running Club hosted the fifth round of the West Yorkshire Winter League at Foster Park** on Sunday. Queensbury, the village that surveys all before it; yet our hosts managed to find us all a course that had hills upon a hill.

A chilly start

As the day broke the runners stirred early, a quick glance outside telling us all that it was brass monkey weather. Along with the regular tops and trainers, people took to wearing thermals, bobble hats, mittens and anything else that might keep the body warm. Put mildly, it was a cold ‘un.

Mind, the cold snap did have its advantages; anyone who recced the course the previous Sunday would testify just how saturated the fields were, particularly Foster Park itself. The weather during the week had helped dry out certain sections to some degree, but along the paths in the fields, we were still greeted with that commodity every cross country course needs to make it worthwhile; mud. Loads of it. Squelchy, slurpy mud. The kind of thing you used to enjoy stomping about in when you were five.

Undeterred by the crispness of the morn, thirty-seven Northowram Pumas turned out in force to face whatever Queensbury RC and the route threw at them.

Pumas at the start line
Pumas at the start line

They made up a total of 321 runners, who, once summoned, assembled at the start to listen to some cautionary advice from the race director Dave Hepworth. “It’s harder than it looks,” he yelled, and by the time we’d all finished, we realised he hadn’t been joking.

Ready, set, RUN

The countdown commenced, and the shout of “Go,” was the cue for a mass stampede, everyone heading down towards the bottom of the field, jostling for positions and keen to avoid trouble.

Spot the Pumas at the start
Spot the Pumas at the start

As the course wound its way towards the bottom corner, the field of runners was already spreading out, and soon we were facing our first serious climb. We turned a sharp left to begin the steady climb, the route getting steeper towards the top, then we had some respite as the course headed back down, following the perimeter of the park. It was but brief, however. We climbed once more, tackling what looked like a massive step in the hillside, runners conquering it as best they could. Legs were still obviously fresh at this point; by the time we would face it again plenty of runners would be on their knees.

Richard, looking fairly knakered on his first time up the step
Richard, looking fairly knackered on his first time up the step

Once at the summit, we veered left and back down towards the start, enjoying another canter downfield, this time taking a right at the bottom and returning back towards the main entrance of the park via a woodland section. By the time we’d reached the top of this, we had – so we were reliably informed during the recce – covered the first mile. The meant there was only around 3.7 miles left to cover. The hardest bit was already over, right? As if.

We swung right and entered the woods once more, following the trail until it came out at the top of the grass banking we’d earlier run up. Careering down the hillside – oh what fun – we reached a stile at the bottom, waited our turn to pass through, then lo and behold, we were out in the open countryside. On such a morning, what could be nicer?

We had to include this awesome series of photos....
We had to include this awesome series of photos….
Sneaky Kirsty....very sneaky
Sneaky Kirsty….very sneaky
Johnny, non the wiser as Kirsty takes him on the inside
Johnny, non the wiser as Kirsty takes him on the inside
Success!!
Success!!

Drier fields, actually. The pathway we followed was now churned up mud following heavy rain, sleet and (probably up here, snow) the previous week. And trying to run at speed whilst planting your feet on the cobbles isn’t necessarily easy, either.

Having already run the course, up to press I couldn’t actually tell if my own race was going to plan. It’s not as if I didn’t know what was lying ahead of me. But I’d already been passed by Kirsty Edwards (twice, in fact), Tom O’Reilly and young Conor Lynch. As we trekked across the fields, Matt Newton put in an appearance, and then he was gone, too. Then Neil Coupe was on my shoulders. I actually had the chance for a brief conversation with him as we formed an orderly queue at one of the stiles. If there was one thing that hampered the runners, then these stiles in the first half of the course were them. Where you might have built up a healthy lead on any rivals you may have had, suddenly they were within touching distance as the runners concertinaed while awaiting their turn to pass through. No sooner had Neil Coupe skipped through, then Alison Pearce was the lone voice in the immediate pack behind me shouting for me to get a move on – or words to that effect.

On route

Having negotiated the fields, we then had a climb along a farm track, somewhere in the vicinity of Brightwater Farm, before emerging onto Stocks Lane. We turned right down this pleasant trail section before turning our attentions to the next section, a stile, on the other side of which was a heavy mud pool, though it wasn’t as bad as when we did the trial run the week before. We rounded the field, then headed upwards into the next. On and on we cantered or staggered, towards a farm, keeping left of the cattle grid, after letting a couple of oncoming dog walkers through, of course.

As we turned onto the short tarmacked section, I’d been caught by Alison. This was the top of Stanage Lane, a section I’ve encountered many times but which suddenly looked strangely unfamiliar. Alison passed me here but I kept close to her as we descended a steep clay banking which led us to a ‘water crossing’ (as some would term it, a stream to you and me). Taking advice from the marshal, we successfully passed through, then clambered our way up the other side, into more fields which seemed to keep rising. By now, my legs were feeling heavy, and I was pretty much running out of any steam. Alison, too, appeared to be feeling it, but she evidently had more energy than I did, and pulled away.

We swung left around the farm, then entered the final field before closing back in on Foster Park. That was the good news. The bad, which came in a package, was that my legs could hardly move, and there was thought of the two climbs in the park before the finish. Then there was the hazardous trail section which ran parallel to the park itself. Full of loose branches, stumps, fallen leaves and mud. It certainly kept you on your toes; everyone’s except mine, seemingly, as I tried to dodge a moving tree. How else could you explain myself landing on my back up against the wall after falling quite dramatically? Other runners bore witness to this, though none stopped to pick me up – we were, after all, still racing – though happily all I suffered was a bruised ego. But as I picked myself up, over the wall I could see Ally Canning and Paul Bottomley gaining ground. I attempted to get back into my stride, which by this point was a pretty slow one, and dragged myself to the top of the pathway through the trees before turning immediately right down the other side. It was here that Ally passed me, but with no energy to keep pace, I watched her pull away from me. Thankfully, this trail section was downhill; the section we’d run up just after looping the park at the start. But as we reached the bottom and turned left, we had the climb up the side of the field once more. Paul caught me and passed me but both of us found the terrain a real struggle, as did others around us. Some, myself included, resorted to walking, but once we’d reached the top we had the downhill section which gave us chance to set ourselves for the final assault. We swung around to face the final curtain – well, the end was near – and pulled and clawed our way up the giant’s step. Photographic evidence later showed at least one competitor tackling it on his hands and knees, but that wasn’t me.

Sarah, going for a mountaineering approach to the step
Sarah, going for a mountaineering approach to the step

Through the short woodland section we trundled, then back down into the field where we could see runners finishing, almost within touching distance. A short run downfield, a swift turnaround, then the short sprint to the line was all that was now asked of us. Or so I had it in my head. There was a catch; there always is. Despite having done the recce the week before, and told on the day by a prominent member of the organisers that there had been no last minute changes to the course, perhaps he or she had forgotten that the run down field had been extended to a mound which looked miles away. Paul had maybe ten yards on me by now; Ally was further ahead. We trooped down towards the mound, catching sight of the runners on the opposite side making their run for home. It was a long way, but once we’d looped around it, the finishing line was in the distance. Way, way in the distance. I summoned every last fibre to make a dash for it, passing Paul and possibly one or two others. I’ve usually something left in the tank for the final push, but this really was a massive ask. I finally reached the line in a state of total exhaustion, practically walking through with Paul but a few seconds behind me.

Of course, whilst all this was going on, I was oblivious to anything that had gone on ahead. Fortunately, the results and accompanying video gave us a clear picture. The race was won yet again by Stainland’s Ben Mounsey, but as far as we’re concerned, the honour of first Puma home went once more to Luke Cranfield, who finished 23rd. Tim Brook was involved in his own particular dual with Pudsey Pacers’ Ryan Noon, but mounted one last almighty effort to see him off in a sprint finish to become second Puma home in 40th.

Tim, being the bigger man and not gloating about his sprint finish
Tim, being the bigger man and not gloating about his sprint finish

He scored as a veteran, as did Andy Haslam (76th) and Andrew Tudor (95th), whilst also scoring for the Men’s team were Deke Banks, Richard Ogden and evergreen Robert Shirlaw, a Super Vet, too, sixth Puma home in 104th, to give them 1,640 points and ninth place. Shaun Casey, Adam Standeven and Conor Lynch, who obviously had worked his way through the field, gave us a quick-fire 141-142-143, whilst several places behind them was the first female Puma, Diane Cooper, a creditable 148th. The Northowram Pumas Ladies, in fact, outshone the men yet again and will no doubt want to remind us frequently. Backed up by Kirsty Edwards (177th), Alison Pearce (192nd) and Ally Canning (195th) they finished an impressive fifth with 1,095 points.

Diane, #FFPH, and looking pretty happy about it
Diane, #FFPH, and looking pretty happy about it

Further down the field, Alan Sykes, sixty-four years young, had enough for an impressive final kick towards the line, Paula Snee looked unruffled as she finished, Andrea Warrington swayed from side to side as she approached the end but managed to guide herself through the posts, whilst Carine Baker crossed with the now-familiar beaming smile across her face, one belying the gruelling course she’d just encountered. Last home for the Pumas were Jennifer Lees and Sarah Firth, who arrived in tandem to the loudest cheer.

Awesome effort by Sarah and Jennifer, it just shows you don't have to be Ben Mounsey to enjoy WYWL races!
Awesome effort by Sarah and Jennifer, it just shows you don’t have to be Ben Mounsey to enjoy WYWL races!

With all points totted up, Northowram were left with 2,735 points to finish on the day in eight place out of the thirteen teams taking part.

Queensbury Racers did a sterling job in hosting the event, leaving many with the feeling that they’d left a tough act to follow. “A proper cross country course,” was what one or two runners described it as, and everyone was really impressed with the cheerful and plentiful marshals who made sure everything ran – geddit? – smoothly. The final round sees us all heading the other side of Halifax to Stainland. It’ll be a toughie – expect nothing less.

* Also known locally as Littlemoor Park.

The results

Full list of participating Pumas and finishing positions;

  • 23 Luke Cranfield (M)
  • 40 Tim Brook (MV)
  • 68 Deke Banks (M)
  • 76 Andy Haslam (MV)
  • 95 Andrew Tudor (MV)
  • 104 Robert Shirlaw (MSV)
  • 105 Richard Ogden (MV)
  • 141 Shaun Casey (MV)
  • 142 Adam Standeven (MV)
  • 143 Conor Lynch (M)*
  • 148 Diane Cooper (FV)
  • 165 Matt Newton (M)
  • 171 Thomas O’Reilly (MV)
  • 177 Kirsty Edwards (FV)
  • 180 Neil Coupe (MV)
  • 192 Alison Pearce (FV)
  • 195 Ally Canning (F)
  • 199 Jonathan Meynell (MSV)
  • 200 Paul Bottomley (MV)
  • 206 Lynsey Clarke (F)*
  • 209 Rachael Helliwell (F)
  • 211 Alan Sykes (MSV)
  • 219 Paula Snee (FV)
  • 233 Tracey March (F)
  • 241 Simon Wilkinson (M)
  • 244 Andrea Warrington (FV)
  • 254 Gabriella Kenny (FV)
  • 262 Carine Baker (F)
  • 276 Shana Emmerson (FV)
  • 280 Melissa Hall (FV)
  • 284 Jodie Knowles (F)
  • 286 Philippa Briggs (F)
  • 293 Victoria Owen (F)
  • 300 Jo Allen (FV)
  • 307 Tiffany Lewis (FV)
  • 316 Jennifer Lees (FV)
  • 317 Sarah Firth (FV)*

* Denotes first Winter League race.

No introduction needed…over to Johnny for the low down…

To blog or not to blog. That is the question. How easy is it to concoct something about a race that will be wiped from the record books (but not our memories) and try to make it meaningful?

For those of you who are already losing my drift, the event in question was the fourth round of the West Yorkshire Winter League, the venue being Oakwell Hall, the hosts the Stadium Runners. A course that had been carefully planned out, marked out and heavily marshalled, and with Oakwell Hall familiar to many runners who’ve taken part in the parkruns there, the stage was set. What could possibly go wrong?

The fate of the race

Needless to say, discussions amongst the race officials went on long into the night to determine just what did go wrong. In the end, it seems, the race was sabotaged by one or more unknown suspects, causing most of the runners to take the wrong route, run further than they should have done, and ultimately render the event meaningless.

If it’s any consolation, the best laid plans have been kyboshed on bigger and grander scales. Take the 1993 Grand National, for instance, where some of the runners and riders set off in haste, some of the horses draped in the starting tape, with the starter and officials trying to flag down the field. The race was declared null and void. But still, there were plenty of things to talk about. As there was on Sunday.

With Oakwell Hall being local enough – indeed, many of our runners have regularly participated in the Saturday morning parkruns there – there was no real need to call upon the Pumas On Tour Express. If we had have done, you may have heard someone suggest in Brody-esque tones, “You’re gonna need a bigger bus.” For in total, a whopping forty one Pumas made the short trip across to take part, the largest field put out by the club. It was quite a sight. The photographers had to stand way, way back to fit us all in on the customary commemorative pre-race photo shoot.

Our biggest Puma turnout yet
Our biggest Puma turnout yet

The race start

The fun started when all the runners, nearly four-hundred of us, were told to assemble at the starting point. On a relatively narrow stretch of path, so many were itching for pole position. So much so that many edged over the line, the starter almost helpless as he tried to force the scrummage to push back. In many ways, it was totally reminiscent of that ’93 National. I stepped out of the pack and took a position on the grass verge, thus avoiding any trouble, something that stood me in good stead for the initial charge once the race had started (but not much more after that).

The course took us directly up the path from the start, then, as on the parkrun route, a sharp right through the woods. We wound our way downwards, then veered off left to make our way back up the slope. On the starter’s orders, one could say that I got off to a flyer, having the distinction of being the first Puma to turn onto the first trail section in the woodland, though I was soon passed thereafter by Luke Cranfield… Tim Brook…Robert Shirlaw… Andy Haslam etc.. Need I go on? But it was soon after this that things started to go awry, though few of us would realise at this stage. Like sheep, we just followed the line in front of us.

Happy looking ladies - Jo and Andrea looking like they're thoroughly enjoying it
Happy looking ladies – Jo and Andrea looking like they’re thoroughly enjoying it

We found ourselves climbing some steps up the woods, negotiating a couple of stiles which, so early on, forced the inevitable bottle-neck. But onwards we charged, through the trees before finding our way into daylight and the open fields, through another stile, then entering another trail section which ran parallel to the M62. Thankfully, this was a downhill and flat section, although there was a catch. The starter had warned us that there was something on this route for everyone, including plenty of mud, which we all love. To be honest, I thought I’d earlier passed the section to which he was referring. But this paled in comparison with the section I soon found myself slugging through. Not for nothing did it lend itself to the title ‘Muddy Hell’. Depending on your size (and I could feel for Paula Snee here) it was literally ankle deep, almost as if it had been shipped in purposely. It goes without saying that several runners had their shoes sucked off their feet, Andy Haslam one of the victims.

Andy - clearly still peeved after losing a shoe
Andy – clearly still peeved after losing a shoe

Around me, runners were looking for the shallowest point, as if there was one, and though I survived it, little did I realise that I would be wading through it once more in a matter of minutes. Already, my legs were feeling drained, and the field which we ran into it and rose gradually did little to alleviate the suffering.

We reached the top and bore a left, down through woodland once more. Having been passed by several other Pumas en route, I was soon caught by Matt Newton, and we ran together for a while until he pulled away briefly. It was around this point, however, that the second error was made by the competitors, for whatever reason. In hindsight, I’m sure we should have turned a sharp right at some point; instead, we found ourselves back on familiar territory. A kissing gate, then a field, then some trees, then all of a sudden, we were back at Muddy Hell. Here, I was beginning to feel something wasn’t quite right, my concerns backed up by further clues along the way. As we ploughed our way through it, one girl was heard to remark, “Should we be going through this again?” When we climbed the field on the other side there was a marshal asking the runners if they were on their first or second lap of this loop. Seemingly we were now mingling with runners who hitherto had been behind us. The race organisers, I can only imagine, had realised things had gone terribly wrong by this stage and decided to send all remaining runners through the mud twice.

Now, instead of turning left, we turned right and headed down towards the southern section of Oakwell Hall. But not without further hazards. Rightly or wrongly, we entered another field, at the top of which was a gate – closed.

As I neared it, I couldn’t help but wonder why it was shut, and whether, in fact, we were meant to cross it at all! Blimey! This really did have all the hallmarks of the Grand National.

Carine - maybe a future career in hurdles
Carine – maybe a future career in hurdles

We waited our turn to climb over it, then without further ado, went on our merry way. I’d caught up Matt by this time, and having asked if he knew how far there was to go, he replied that, according to his Strava device, there were 1.6 miles left. But that figure was surely based on the real route, and in any case, his Strava was now going into meltdown.

Laura - loving her WYWL debut
Laura – loving her WYWL debut

We entered a section which at long last had that old familiar look about it; a trail lined by trees, downhill. It was the reverse route of part of the parkrun course, and for once I got my bearings. The finishing line couldn’t be so far away now. But we were still being asked questions about our resolve. Having joined the tarmacked path which took us past the playground, we were then directed left in order to circumnavigate a large field, frustratingly rising up the left side. I was passed by Tom O’Reilly, and by this stage, all thoughts of myself having a decent finish had given way to just getting around the course. I really must do some more hill work. Running down the other side of the field was easier, but having followed Matt along the pathway, I was on my knees as I staggered up some steps into some parkland, then followed the marshal’s directions back into woodland.

We followed the trail, then, at last, the turn for home. I could see Matt, who had pulled away, about one hundred yards in front of me crossing the line which was positioned a little further back than the normal parkrun finish. I made a bolt for it, endeavouring not to be passed, and crossed it in a state of near exhaustion. Minutes later, however, I was told that mine and everyone else’s efforts had all been in vain.

In the end

It must have been soul destroying for the Stadium Runners who had worked so hard to plan and prepare the route, only to have it decimated by spoilers. Closer to home, the Puma most aggrieved was Tim Brook, who was the first of our runners home, beating Luke Cranfield by seven places.

Tim finally beating Luke...only for it not to count
Tim finally beating Luke…only for it not to count

The video of the finishers made for some smashing viewing, though, and there were some impressive finishing bursts, not least that by Carine Baker, who somehow managed to shrug off the excesses of the weekend to burn off several rivals in the final few yards, though it was Diane Cooper who had the distinction of being the first female Puma home, just holding off a late challenge from Skipton’s Jayne Butterworth. Andy Haslam’s expression depicted a runner who thought the finishing line was getting away from him, sharply contrasting Liz McDonnell’s, who could afford a smile as she crossed. Elsewhere, Richard Baker left it late to surpass Kirsty Edwards, Gill Holmes proved to be something of a dark horse, whilst Andrea Warrington and Johanne Clay crossed the line hand-in-hand. And there was a glut of Pumas finishing so close together, among them Neil Coupe, no doubt ensuring none of them got lost any further.

The video does give the impression that the last competitor home was our very own Laura Fairbank, but this, in fact, is untrue. That honour fell to Peter Yates of LBT (Leeds & Bradford Triathlon Club), but the tape must have run out by the time he came into view. In any case, the last person home should have been the tail runner Nikki Hill, who, as we saw at the start, left at the back of the field with Idle’s Ana Lincoln, almost at walking pace. My unofficial list had the tail runner home in 339th place – with fifty-four runners behind her! Anyone with a vivid imagination might liken it to that classic fable ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. Yes, something had gone terribly wrong, and the organisers had no alternative but to declare everything null and void.

Sort of results

We’ll all go again in two weeks’ time at Queensbury. In the meantime, he’s my list of the Pumas’ runners, with positions (just for fun);

  • 49 Tim Brook
  • 56 Luke Cranfield
  • 85 Deke Banks*
  • 96 Andy Haslam
  • 110 Andrew Tudor
  • 117 Rick Heaton
  • 123 Richard Ogden
  • 128 Robert Shirlaw*
  • 132 Shaun Casey
  • 140 Diane Cooper*
  • 157 Liz McDonnell
  • 181 Chris Ellis
  • 187 Richard Baker
  • 188 Kirsty Edwards
  • 191 Lucy Oxley
  • 193 Tom O’Reilly
  • 200 Matt Newton
  • 205 Jonathan Meynell
  • 212 Ally Canning
  • 221 Gill Holmes*
  • 231 Alison Pearce
  • 239 Claire Ramsbottom*
  • 240 Rachael Hawkins*
  • 243 Neil Coupe
  • 244 Julie Bowman
  • 245 Simon Wilkinson
  • 267 Paula Snee
  • 288 Paul Bottomley
  • 299 Andrea Warrington*
  • 300 Johanne Clay
  • 307 Shana Emmerson
  • 308 Carine Baker
  • 313 Gabby Kenny
  • 337 Nicola Pennington
  • 346 Victoria Owen
  • 355 Jo Allen
  • 360 Philippa Briggs*
  • 361 Jodie Knowles
  • 379 Tiffany Lewis
  • 381 Wendy Hewitt*
  • 392 Laura Fairbank*

* Denotes first Winter League race.

As ever, thanks to our Johnny, not only a tremendous runner but also our superstar blogger. Who better to sum up the first proper race organised by the Pumas!

Over to Johnny….

The Coley Canter. Ah, how the name conjures up idyllic thoughts of ambling over the rural pathways and fields around the village and surrounding areas. The perfect trek for a warm summer’s evening stroll, perhaps. Set off earlier, and you could imagine a family picnic, basking in the golden sunlight, drifting away while you relax as the children and dogs frisk away among the daisies.

But this is December, the day breaking cold, yet bright and sunny. Crisp is a word you could use to describe it. Awaiting is a gruelling eight-mile trudge through thick mud, woodland climbs and steep hills. This was the reality. This is the real Coley Canter!

The real Coley Canter

For several years, this event was established on the local running calendar, having been run by top athlete Karl Gray. However, it hadn’t been staged for four years, but with the Northowram Pumas happy to resurrect the race, it seems set for a healthy future.

Of course, to make such an event possible, much hard work needed to be put into practice, and to that end, Race Director Ally Canning did a sterling job. Not only did this mean organising and positioning the marshals (without whom there wouldn’t have been any chance of the race going ahead), it also meant planning the route in the first place, something that included appeasing local farmers whose land we would be trampling upon. Together with the help of Luke Cranfield, she ensured the route was as tough as possible. And while the race wasn’t due to start until 11.00am, around three hours earlier, Luke, Julie Bowman and Liz McDonnell went out to check that the whole eight-mile course was still clearly marked out.

Some of our amazing Marshals...
Some of our amazing Marshals…

The rest was down to the participating runners, of which there were 74, a total which included ten Pumas, one of whom was Shana Emmerson, who was happy to take on the mantel of Tail Runner. Karl Gray was also among the competitors, one of the favourites, in fact, but he would be challenged by Gary Priestley of Salford Harriers. We trooped around to the bottom side of the cricket field, gathered in a huddle, listened to our briefing from starter Andy Haslam, and before you knew it, we were off, slowly but surely (most of us, anyway; well, that way you feel you’re getting your money’s worth).

The start line, everyone paying the upmost attention to Andy the race starter
The start line, everyone paying the upmost attention to Andy the race starter

The course

Immediately out of the cricket field we took a right turn and followed Westercroft Lane to the junction with Denholmegate Road where marshal Paul Hopkinson was holding up the traffic to let us cross. We turned left onto the pathway leading towards St John the Baptist Church, followed a trail path then hit Coley Road. All was well at this point, and having done the recce a couple of weeks earlier, I knew that that the first two miles or so wouldn’t be asking too many questions. Turning right on Coley Road, we then took the track to our left and careered through the fields, crossing Northedge Lane, then picking up the trail through the trees and fields, heading toward Syke Lane.

Tom looking deep in concentration just before hitting Syke Lane
Tom looking deep in concentration just before hitting Syke Lane

By this time the leaders were well in front, with Rick Heaton and Shaun Casey tucked in neatly towards the front. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack and running for the most part up until Judy Woods with Matt Newton. Ever the gentleman, by the time we reached the stile at Syke Lane, I let Matt go through first, then chased him along the tarmacked road until we veered off to the right and picked up the trail that headed onwards and upwards towards Norwood Green. It was along this section that we had the most fun. Resembling scenes from Takeshi’s Castle, we passed through a stile which necessitated something of a jump, and found ourselves landing in thick mud – ankle deep, it was – and the photographer standing by must have chortled at the sight of runners looking for the driest landing spot. Oh the joys.

The pull up the field to Norwood Green was our biggest challenge so far on the route, steep and with few footholes, but once we’d climbed it we turned a sharp right and continued through the trees, climbing steadily until we reached Village Street.

Johnny enjoying only of the only bits of tramac on the course just before Judy Woods
Johnny enjoying only of the only bits of tarmac on the course just before Judy Woods

We took a left and followed the field as it turned in to the track, then headed down towards the direction of the intimidating Judy Woods. At the entrance to the woods, Matt and myself were given a rallying call from marshal Paul Bottomley, then we crossed the brook and started the steep climb up the steps. I never looked back, but if I had have done, I would have noticed Matt struggling a little. Once I reached the top of the stairway, I got my head down and worked hard as the deceiving incline up through the woods started to take its toll as legs became ever heavier.

The pull through Judy Woods, as scenic as it was, seemed to take an age, but in time I reached its highest point, then made the welcome descent down towards the brook. As we reached it, the terrain seemed to take on vertical proportions, and I dare say I wasn’t the only one who took a tumble, though thankfully, I didn’t end up in the water. Once the brook had been negotiated, there was then the climb up the other side on what was a narrow, slippery, muddy path, with one heck of a drop on your right hand side. If you’ve ever seen ‘The Italian Job’ and that coach ride up the mountains, you’ll get my drift.

By now, I had the company of two other runners, one being Jo Talbot-Patterson. We exchanged positions several times over but we were never too far apart, until the finish, that, is. We climbed out of the woods then enjoyed the canter across the fields, working our way diagonally until we reached the farm track. We turned right, then a left at the top where the route joined Green Lane and thankfully a nice downhill stretch.

After all this effort, you’d have forgiven me for thinking that I was well over the halfway point by now, and, in fact, I consoled myself with this very notion. But then we arrived at the watering station, with bottled water being handed out by Carine Baker en famile (except dad Joe, who was taking part in the race, though way ahead of me). Carine proved a natural dispenser, no doubt rolling back the years when she acted as drinks monitor at school. This, in fact, was the halfway mark – we were nowhere near home.

Amelie and Freddie, a welcome sight for most of the runners
Amelie and Freddie, a welcome sight for most of the runners

Carine told us to keep going until we found the next marshal, whom we encountered after a somewhat laughable jaunt avoiding massive puddles. Here was Liz McDonnell, ushering us into what was Shelf Woods, but whilst most of this section was quite favourable, the gradual pull up to the top had several runners, myself included, having to walk, despite the attentions of the photographer who caught us in the act. There then followed the carefree charge back down towards the beck, before we wound our way up the other side and entered Shelf Park and familiar territory.

Jo, enjoying the run a bit too much...we'll have to add more hills next year!
Jo, enjoying the run a bit too much…we’ll have to add more hills next year!

The track from Shelf Park known as Bridle Stile gave us our longest stretch of downhill running and the chance of a much-needed breather. But there was still much to do. We ran down towards a farm, veered right, crossed a field, then entered another woodland section. It was nice running down through the trees, but there’s always this nagging feeling that the next climb isn’t too far away. And sure, enough, we were met by another staircase, and as if that wasn’t enough, once we climbed our way up there, there was the gradual incline up through the fields. I’d caught up some other competitors by now, but only because they were walking, heaving, like me, as they did so. One lady, walking her dogs downhill, remarked “Good sound effects,” to which I retorted, ‘These are for real.”

We staggered through two fields, entered a farm track, bore a sharp right, then made our way across more fields, thankfully flat in nature. In the distance the church at Coley came into view. But it was at this point that I checked over my shoulder to see the sight of club mate Jane Cole several hundred yards behind me, and closing. Bearing in mind that I’d not seen any other Pumas for nearly six miles, suddenly I was asking questions of myself. Was I slowing down considerably, or was she timing the race just right and catching me? Or both? We’re all competitive by nature in this sort of environment, you’ve only to look at the photos (and accompanying video) of Jane, Alan Sykes and Matt Newton in the sprint finish at the end of the Winter League race at Skipton to see that. To avoid a repeat here, I knew I had to dig in and press on. We turned through a stile that almost had you doubling back on yourself, crossed the field, then joined up with Coley Hall Lane. I wasn’t finding any of this easy at all; my legs were feeling ever more tired, and a couple of runners who hitherto had been way behind me, passed me with consummate ease. We turned right back onto Coley Road, and though I knew that we were in the closing stages the gradual incline was bringing me to an almost standstill. Behind me, Jane had narrowed the gap to about one hundred yards. I was gripped with panic! Up Coley Road we climbed and climbed before turning left down a track which led to Denholmegate Road. We crossed the main road, headed towards a farm, through the yard, then headed downfield, my legs suddenly finding a new lease of life. Near the bottom Gabby Kenny, with Jude and Orlagh, were giving us what looked like the Mexican wave and cheering us on, perhaps the most pleasing sight other than the finishing line itself.

Mini Marshals Jude and Orlagh
Mini Marshals Jude and Orlagh

I careered through the farm yard, hit Westercroft, then entered the cricket field. A quick check over my shoulder to confirm I was under no threat, and I made a charge for the line, greeted as I crossed it by Neil Coupe and his timing equipment.

The finish line.....a welcome sight for most of the runners
The finish line…..a welcome sight for most of the runners

There was no one immediately behind me; myself and Jane were actually separated by the aforementioned Jo Talbot-Patterson, who had given up the ghost in our own personal dual up Coley Road.

I saw neither runners finish as I was deep in recovery mode and gathering my senses. When I felt up to it, I walked back to the finishing line to welcome in the fellow Pumas, Matt leading Tom O’Reilly home. Roy Lindsell was the next Puma home, followed in due course by Jo Allen and Tiffany Lewis. Shana was the last runner home, as she had to be! I was the third Puma home, the distinction of being the first falling equally to Shaun Casey and Rick Heaton, both linking up as they crossed the line, though mysteriously, Shaun being given a time four seconds faster than Rick. Either one of them had very long arms, or Neil’s equipment was proving momentarily dodgy.

Shaun and Rick, #FPH, one clearly enjoyed it more than the other!
Shaun and Rick, #FPH, one clearly enjoyed it more than the other!

Before I’d crossed the line, the race had been won some twenty-nine minutes earlier by Gary Priestley, maintaining his lead over Karl Gray having pulled away from him through Judy Woods.

Winner of the inaugural Pumas Coley Canter....Gary Priestly
Winner of the inaugural Pumas Coley Canter….Gary Priestley

There appeared to be only one casualty on the day, Alex Whyte having to pull up, but she was well tended to, getting a lift back to the clubhouse and being supplied with icepacks.

When it was all over, there was the chance to relax in the bar, with home-made pie and peas being served up. Which made you realise just how much had gone into making the event a success. From start to finish, the planning, the organising, the volunteering. So much that we sometimes take for granted. Upon reflection, perhaps the running of the Coley Canter was the easiest part.

Or maybe not.

Top finishers and Pumas’ positions:

1 Gary Priestley (Salford Harriers) 51.13

2 Karl Gray (unattached) 51.46

3 Gavin Mulholland (unattached) 54.34

4 Jonathan Collins (Stainland Lions) 58.49

24 Shaun Casey 1:12.46

25 Rick Heaton 1:12.50 (!!)

44 Jonathan Meynell 1:22.39

46 Jane Cole 1:23.09

57 Matt Newton 1:30.23

58 Tom O’Reilly 1:30.27

63 Ron Lindsell 1:41.36

66 Jo Allen 1:44.01

68 Tiffany Lewis 1:47.32

73 Shana Emmerson (Tail Runner) 1:55.00

You can find the full list of results and we’ve created a smashing photo album so you can view all the photos from the day.

Next year’s Coley Canter will be held on the 30 December 2017. Keep your eyes peeled around the start of November for more details!

 

 

All roads led to Skipton for the third round of the West Yorkshire Winter League. Not technically in West Yorkshire but near enough, the Pumas On Tour Express was nevertheless ready to roll once more, and with resident driver Neil Coupe now sporting a peaked cap one would be forgiven for thinking he was enacting the role of Stan Butler from Seventies classic sitcom ‘On The Buses’. He looked the part, and just as cheeky (ask Nicola Pennington, nudge, nudge, wink, wink!). There were those who also saw a resemblance to the moustachioed Leatherman in the Village People. Take your pick.

Village person or sitcom legend. Or just the Pumas bus driver
Village person or sitcom legend. Or just the Pumas bus driver

All buckled up, the passengers were in good spirits, and with several team members making their way in other modes of transport, the Pumas line-up was a healthy one; all told there were 27 making up the team. Destination was initially Sandylands Sports Centre, and in keeping with the ‘On The Buses’ theme, we set off ‘almost on time’, arriving a good forty minutes before the race which was scheduled for a 10.30 start. This was important because it gave certain runners the chance for a loo call and dress code adjustments. Here, we had Alan Sykes having to re-pin his vest number having originally threaded it through front and back, and Paul Bottomley putting his shorts back on the right way around. Needless to say, these two were WYWL debutants, but I’m sure they’ll get the hang of it, though I hasten to add, other newcomers to this kind of event, Paula Snee, Debbie Fox and Alison Pearce had little trouble, Alison’s panic being reserved for the return journey.

In Memory of Helen

We all donned black armbands in remembrance of club member Helen Silson, who sadly passed away recently far too young, and there was a thought for our regular co-ordinator Tracey Ann, who was absent due unforeseen circumstances. Taking on her mantel of pocket organiser for the day was Simon Wilkinson, who not only supplied the first-timers with their race numbers, but also brought along one of those giant shopping bags for use of Pumas tops and other non-running attire, indicating the steady progress the club is making.

Whilst we’d all headed for the Sandylands, the course itself was a short walk away at Aireville Park, a nice place for a picnic, but not on a day like this. We milled around as the minutes ticked by before being called to order. We made our way to the starting line where the other club runners were about to find this Northowram team not so accommodating as before; we held our positions near the front as opposed to being straggled at the back, much to the delight of Andrew Tudor, who, on more than one occasion in the run up to the event, had reminded us that, “This is a race, you know.”

The start line and our first view of the course
The start line and our first view of the course

This race was preceded by the presentation to the best dressed runner in Christmas outfit, and ten were plucked out of the pack, among them our very own Luke Cranfield and Helen Jackson. Being near the front had other advantages, for in another throwback to days of yore, the old ‘clap-o-meter’ method was used to determine the winners. Helen, dressed as an angel (what else?) received the loudest cheer, particularly from those of us at the front, and she duly received her customary tub of Celebrations. Also receiving his best dressed ‘male’ prize, which was exactly the same as Helen’s, was Queensbury’s Lee Tidswell, clad in a classic inflatable Santa outfit. And fair play to him; once he’d got into the costume, he was going to get his money’s worth, and shuffled his way around the course wearing it.

Fancy dress...well it is Christmas after all
Fancy dress…well it is Christmas after all

Once these runners had rejoined the throng, it was time for the serious stuff. While the presentations were being made, the rest of the field had had chance to survey what lay ahead. It looked kind of intimidating. A gentle incline up the field was just what everyone needed (sic) and before we knew it, we were off, a mass stampede heading out and beyond.

The Course

The course itself was loosely a figure-of-eight, three laps of which covered four-and-a-half miles. Why, just an extended parkrun, I hear some of you exclaim. Those that ran it might beg to differ. From the start, as I’ve hinted, there was several hundred yards of gentle uphill climbing before we turned a sharp left and a welcome downhill stretch. Before we rose again in the adjacent field (which happened to be the pitch and putt golf course) we sampled the first heap of not so glorious mud, several inches deep. We would trudge through this six times in total. The course then swung (did you see what I did then?) left to take us around the perimeter of the golf course, making the steep descent before turning sharp right, perhaps the most treacherous part of the course. We entered the first woodland and came out of the other side to cross the field before tackling the hardest section, a hill that began in more woodland and continued higher to the top of the field. Once we’d reached the summit, the sight was more appealing, the descent towards the entrance (and THAT mud) back into the main section of the park. We bore left up the field, then almost turned back on ourselves. One further climb and we were into the final woodland trail, the most welcome part of the course. That’s if you could keep your balance, mind, as there was a pretty nifty camber to negotiate, not to mention the tree roots. But once you’d made your way across the top of the woodland, there was the descent where you had the chance to build up some speed, and before you knew it, you were back at the start.

WYWL first timers Paul and Debbie...concentrating hard
WYWL first timers Paul and Debbie…concentrating hard

Though I started near the front I wasn’t there for long, being swallowed by the pack, and I quickly realised that this was no cake walk, despite the claims in some quarters that this was perhaps the easiest course on the circuit. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me it was tough going from start to finish. As we approached the first turn, I could see ahead of me Luke and Tim Brook making their way towards the front. Down the incline, we cagily negotiated the mud before entering the pitch and putt course. The field settled down once we’d made the sharp turn towards the wooded area, where we ran in single file. The sight of the tough hill we had to climb, however, was intimidating, even at this early stage. To think we had to attempt this twice more before we were done (in). And running up here wasn’t as straightforward as it seemed. Getting a decent grip was a challenge in itself, and I found the best way of manoeuvring was to climb almost sideways, a bit like a crab, only not as fast. All the time, the energy being sapped from my legs.

Having reached the top without stopping, there was the canter down the slope, through the mud and into the main park. Around this point, I was passed by Jenny Hopkinson and Matt Newton, though any notion I might have had of trying to keep pace with them at this stage was quickly put to bed. My legs felt as if they could hardly move. Slowly, I followed the course around and entered the longest woodland section, knowing that when I came out of the other side, I’d be starting the second lap. It was slightly worrying, even if one marshal tried to encourage us all by calling out, “Only another two laps.”

WYWL ace Jenny storming round the course to be FFPH (First Female Puma Home)
WYWL ace Jenny storming round the course to be FFPH (First Female Puma Home)

As I entered the pitch and putt course for the second time, I was joined by Alison Pearce, who seemed to me to be running a lot more freely than I was. Yet we swapped positions several times through the rest of the course, and in fact, were of the same mind when we climbed the biggest hill once more. Halfway up there was a handy resting place. Not that I’m suggesting that was what it was officially called, nor that it was put there deliberately, but we found ourselves stopping for a quick breather, as well as to gather our senses, before continuing the assault. On the other side of the hill, I was lapped by leader Ben Mounsey of Stainland Athletic, and through the woods I was reminded by a couple of spectating youths.

Super blogger Johnny...who also runs too
Super blogger Johnny…who also runs too

The second lap felt a lot tougher than the first, but doubtless the last lap would be even harder still as the legs grew more tired. I braced myself, whilst keeping my feet through the longest woodland section, for the last circuit, consoling myself that there was just one and half miles to go. But it was a slog, there was no other way to describe it. The major hill looked and felt even bigger, and once more, me and Alison found ourselves taking another breather. By this time, we’d caught up Matt Newton, as he too was finding the going tough. I told myself that we were on the last leg once we’d reached the top and then there was the run for home. But still there were anxious moments. Back in Aireville Park we made our way across the field to the point where we doubled back on ourselves. I tried to keep focussed, daring not to look across to see who was behind me. But it was unavoidable. Whilst myself and Alison were locked in battle, Matt had drifted off behind us, but closing down on all of us were Jane Cole and Alan Sykes. I wasn’t up for losing any more places if I could help it, and suddenly found the drive to push myself up the last climb and into the final trail section. I even found it within myself to pass a couple of other runners, and once the wooded area bent around to the left, I knew the finish wasn’t far away. There was no looking back. I emerged into daylight with Alison in hot pursuit and the shouts from fellow Pumas who had long since finished certainly spurred me on as I put my head down for the sprint – loosely termed – to the line. I pipped Alison by a nanosecond, and felt nothing but total exhaustion. I began my immediate recovery and therefore missed the battle royale behind me as Jane, Alan and Matt raced each other home, Jane just managing to stride out and win that particular battle (I think Alan dipped too early).

Just the best finishing photo ever
Just the best finishing photo ever

Ben Mounsey cruised to victory, but Luke Cranfield can once again be satisfied with his nineteenth place finish – his best so far – making up for being overlooked in the pre-race Christmas outfit contest. As he crossed the line he swiftly whipped on his red face mask and had it not been for his race number, why, nobody would have known it was him. Tim Brook was next to finish in 41st place, the first of the Male Veterans. Andy Haslam (61st), whose dart to the line warded off any potential threat, and Adam Standeven (76th), who in contrast ambled home, also scored as a Veteran in the Men’s team, And Richard Ogden, coming 93rd and Shaun Casey, in 96th, were the next open age Males home to score. Andrew Tudor clearly had reserves left in the tank for a monumental charge to line where he took out two rivals (one of whom had another lap to run!) to complete the Male scoring. He finished in 100th position, four places behind a more composed Shaun Casey.

Luke coming a fantastic 19th even in a santa suit
Luke coming a fantastic 19th even in a santa suit

Excelling once again to be the first female Puma home was Veteran Jenny Hopkinson, who came in 139th (and fifteenth in her field), whilst Alison Pearce, on her debut, was next home in 189th. Jane Cole, despite feeling she had to fend off the challenges of club mates, had already done enough to bag some points, as had Paula Snee, further down the field, outmanoeuvring Simon Wilkinson one place behind. In the Supervets category, Paul Hopkinson proved once again to be the super Supervet Puma, finishing 152nd.

Other Winter League newcomers saw Paul Bottomley finish a tidy 196th, and Debbie Fox in 219th, pipped to the line by Julie Bowman, whilst it’s only fair to mention the ‘angelic’ Helen Jackson, who showed she had a real mean streak to pass Craven’s Bridget Slater on the line (a wave of her wand would have been easier, but perhaps not as satisfying). It was pleasing to see Tom O’Reilly have a better time of things after his injury-riddled runout at Pudsey, whilst Ally Canning kept Queensbury’s Julie Hepworth at bay. Carine Baker set off with antlers, but had long since discarded them before the finish, for fear of being mugged by a moose. Tiffany Lewis may have been the last Puma home, but she was afforded the biggest cheer.

Still with antlers....but not for long
Still with antlers….but not for long

After several stewards’ enquiries, the results were ratified, and the Female Pumas were confirmed in seventh place in their category, as opposed to – as if the ladies couldn’t help reminding us – the men, who finished ninth. All told, Northowram Pumas finished the day in eighth position, and in the overall standings, lie eighth out of the thirteen competing teams.

There was still time for drama on the way home. Neil Coupe had to put his foot down when word got back to us that the pizza delivery man was closer to the clubhouse than we were. Happily, he was stalled in the car park, enabling us all relax for the next hour or two as we replenished ourselves. Then, after departing, Alison Pearce was texting Neil, worrying that she’d left her trainers on the bus, only to find out she’d left them in her car. Would you believe it?!

Results and our next outing

Next race is in three weeks’ time, hosted by the Huddersfield-based Stadium Runners. Word on the street is that the course will be staged at Oakwell Hall, a course familiar to many of us. The Pumas On Tour Express may be in operation once more. Fares please…

Full list of participating Pumas and finishing positions;

  • 19 Luke Cranfield (M)
  • 41 Tim Brook (MV)
  • 60 Andy Haslam (MV)
  • 76 Adam Standeven (MV)
  • 93 Richard Ogden (MV)
  • 96 Shaun Casey (MV)
  • 100 Andrew Tudor (MV)
  • 123 Tom Moran (M)
  • 139 Jenny Hopkinson (FV)
  • 152 Paul Hopkinson (MSV)
  • 168 Neil Coupe (MV)
  • 174 Tom O’Reilly (MV)
  • 188 Jonathan Meynell (MSV)
  • 189 Alison Pearce (FV)*
  • 191 Jane Cole (FV)
  • 192 Alan Sykes (MSV)*
  • 193 Matt Newton (M)
  • 196 Paul Bottomley (MV)*
  • 199 Paula Snee (FV)*
  • 200 Simon Wilkinson (M)
  • 205 Ally Canning (F)
  • 213 Helen Jackson (FV)
  • 218 Julie Bowman (FV)
  • 219 Debbie Fox (FV)*
  • 254 Nicola Pennington (FV)
  • 257 Carine Baker (FV)
  • 267 Tiffany Lewis (FV)

* Denotes first Winter League race.

 

Thanks, as always, to our star blogger Johnny. Who makes us all sound like champion runners! 

The Ladies section excelled themselves when Northowram Pumas took part in the second round of the West Yorkshire Winter League at Pudsey on Sunday, 27 November, writes The Man Who Wasn’t There.

Once again, the club was thankful to Salterlee Primary School for the kind loan of the minibus, and the Pumas On Tour Express, crammed with eager runners, winged its way to Pudsey courtesy of the skilled driving once more of Neil Coupe, who for the only time that day found himself at the front.

The Pumas take on Pudsey
The Pumas take on Pudsey

For those runners who didn’t take part in the first race at Dewsbury, the Pudsey course may have seemed slightly daunting, though for those who did participate at Dewsbury, the general consensus was that the Pudsey course wasn’t as testing. Still, it had all the ingredients to make it a fun event; steep climbs, woodland trails, fields, and plenty of mud thrown in for good measure.

The Pumas were without several runners who had to pull out through injury or illness, or in one case, both. Nevertheless, they sent out a team in numbers; twenty-nine, in fact, took part, which is a great credit to a relatively new club like ours when you consider that this is the first time we’ve entered the competition and we only celebrated our 2nd birthday earlier this year. There were a total 356 competitors who lined up at the start at Round Hill, a field that not only saw the runners off, but would also usher them back in. The course took in Black Carr Woods where the organisers advised off road shoes, but such footwear was needed long before the runners reached the woods; immediately from the start, they had to negotiate the fields of Round Hill, which were described in certain quarters as “very dicey”.

Jo taking on the 'dicey conditions' in a field in Pudsey
Jo taking on the ‘dicey conditions’ in a field in Pudsey

Welcome downhill sections gave the runners the chance to gather themselves after some arduous climbs.

Although not all Pumas find them that arduous!
Although not all Pumas find them that arduous!

perhaps the most testing being the steep trail hill around half a mile from the end.

For prosperity, a happy snapper was there to photograph the competitors as they reached the top of this section. Looking at the Pumas at this stage, there was a mix of facial expressions. Andy Haslam showed fierce determination:

Andy's 'I really want to win it' face
Andy’s ‘I really want to win it’ face

Tim Brook seemed to be treating it as ‘just another day at the office’

Tim 'another day, another hill' Brook
Tim ‘another day, another hill’ Brook

Adam Standeven’s smile disguised the sheer relief at conquering it

Adam smiling at the camera...or just because he's made it to the top of the hill
Adam smiling at the camera…or just because he’s made it to the top of the hill

Whilst Neil Coupe seemed to be expecting a fanfare for managing it

More running less posing Neil
More running less posing Neil

Richard Baker, Matt Newton and Jo Allen obviously know how to ‘work the camera’, whilst Carine Baker and Nicola Pennington were too preoccupied to actually notice it. The pained expressions of Rick Heaton, Andrew Tudor, Paul Hopkinson, Ally Canning, Victoria Owen and Tiffany Lewis perhaps tell you all you need to know

Vicky, Tom and Gabby looking pretty knackered
Vicky, Tom and Gabby looking pretty knackered

though you’d be forgiven for thinking that Julie Bowman had actually finished the race.

Not quite finished yet Julie!
Not quite finished yet Julie!

There was still some way to go, however, and there was that final killer hill up the tarmacked road to tackle before the runners re-entered Round Hill and made a short burst to the finish line. Which (judging by the video, at least) seemed to have been plonked randomly in the middle of the field. Still it was a welcome sight for each and every runner, there’s no disputing that.

Winning the race by the proverbial country mile was Stainland Lion’s international fell runner Ben Mounsey, but tucked in just behind the leaders to finish an impressive twenty-third was Pumas’ dependable Luke Cranfield. Tim Brook was the next Puma home in 51st place, Andy Haslam, in his first Winter League race, finished a handy 68th, whilst Adam Standeven was the other Puma to finish in the hot one hundred.

No one was back in time to capture our very first Pumas home...but this photo of Andrew is pretty good and he smashed it.
No one was back in time to capture our very first Pumas home…but this photo of Andrew is pretty good and he smashed it.

For the Ladies, Jenny Hopkinson must have run the race of her life to finish twentieth in her field and 159th overall

Amazing effort by Jenny to get FFPH (First Female Puma Home)
Amazing effort by Jenny to get FFPH (First Female Puma Home)

and she was backed up by Liz McDonnell, Kirsty Edwards and Lucy Oxley, who were all taking part in their first Winter League race of the season. Jenny, in fact, was chased to the line by Rick Heaton, who’d done well considering he’d been out of action for three weeks, whilst further down the field, Tom O’Reilly struggled with injury but still managed to complete the course. Tom was one of fourteen Pumas competing for the first time; I hope he and the others aren’t put off and are ready to go again!

Daniela, looking like she enjoyed every minute of her WYWL debut
lucy-in-her-first-outing-as-a-fully-fledged-puma
Lucy in her first outing as a fully fledged Puma

 

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Matt sneaking in to overtake Tracey at the finish line. That didn’t go down well
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Wounded and hobbling but Tom still managed to cross the finish line and add to the points total
Liz, without her infamous turquoise shorts, much to everyone's disppointment
Liz, without her infamous turquoise shorts, much to everyone’s disappointment

We are, after all, a team. And never was this more apparent than when a large contingent reconvened in the Yew Tree, where drinks and pizza were the order of the day. As they should be.

Once all the positions had been calculated, it was pleasing to see that the Ladies had finished fifth in their category, moving up the table one place to eight. Overall, the Pumas remain in ninth position. But there’s plenty of time to go. Book your places now for the Pumas On Tour Express. Next stop – Skipton.

Full list of participating Pumas and finishing positions;

  • 23 Luke Cranfield (M)
  • 51 Tim Brook (MV)
  • 68 Andy Haslam (MV)*
  • 94 Adam Standeven (MV)
  • 113 Richard Ogden (MV)
  • 127 Shaun Casey (MV)*
  • 129 Andrew Tudor (MV)*
  • 159 Jenny Hopkinson (FV)
  • 160 Rick Heaton (MV)*
  • 171 Liz McDonnell (FV)*
  • 168 Paul Hopkinson (MSV)
  • 190 Kirsty Edwards (FV)*
  • 197 Richard Baker (MV)
  • 200 Lucy Oxley (F)*
  • 212 Rachael Helliwell (F)*
  • 231 Ally Canning (F)
  • 232 Matt Newton (M)
  • 233 Tracey Ann March (F)*
  • 237 Neil Coupe (MV)
  • 274 Julie Bowman (FV)*
  • 294 Gabrielle Kenny (FV)*
  • 295 Carine Baker (F)
  • 297 Victoria Owen (F)
  • 313 Nicola Pennington (FV)*
  • 320 Jodie Knowles (F)*
  • 324 Jo Allen (FV)
  • 334 Tom O’Reilly (MV)*
  • 338 Daniela Fuldusova (FV)*
  • 344 Tiffany Lewis (FV)

* Denotes first Winter League race.

Northowram Pumas Running Club held their 2016 Christmas party at the Halifax Bierkeller on Friday 11th November. This was the Club’s 2nd visit to the Bierkeller as it is such a fun packed evening and the Arches, Dean Clough Mills is a great venue for a large group. There were 34 Pumas on the party list and this year everybody looked amazing in their fancy dress costumes including Bongossi trade dresses, Bavarian shorts and one very large sausage!

Paul's Bavarian Sausage
Paul’s Bavarian Sausage
Some bavarian looking the Puma ladies
Some bavarian looking the Puma ladies

The Pumas met up at the Northowram Community Sports and Activity Club for a few drinks and some ‘before’ photos, before heading down to The Arches to meet the rest of the group at the bar. Steins were collected and beer goggles fitted before taking seats at two of the best tables available… right next to the dance floor.

Steins in hand
Steins in hand

The best Oompah band in Britain, The Amazing Bavarian Stompers provided the entertainment for the evening. This year with some assistance from Kirsty and Nicola:

Nicola on stage oompahhing away
Nicola on stage oompahhing away
Kirsty helping with the horn
Kirsty helping with the horn

Everyone had a brilliant evening dancing on chairs with steins in hand, linking arms and singing to traditional Bavarian drinking songs – I saw a mouse! where? there on the stair…

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pumas-taking-over-the-dance-floor
Pumas taking over the dance floor

A disco with lots of energetic dancing followed the Oompah band, and we discovered that not only do we have some very talented runners among us, we also have some amazing dancers.

If you couldn’t make it to this year’s Bierkeller, don’t worry as I am sure that we will be doing it all again next year!

A journey of 13.1 miles starts with just one step…

It’s hard for me to write this as I still really can’t believe that I, Laura (who couldn’t run to the end of Westercroft Lane in mid- April this year without being out of breath and praying for the breather to be elongated due to the main road being busier than m62 at rush hour) completed the Manchester Half Marathon on 16th October, just seven months after joining the Pumas.

On January 1st 2016 I had embarked on a New Years resolution-cum-Yorkshire Air Ambulance fundraiser in memory of my cousin Georgina Lockey; For every pound in weight I lost, I would put a pound coin in a piggy bank for YAA. My start weight was 18 ½ stone and I had a goal in mind to lose 8 stone of that by the end of the year using Paul McKenna ‘I can make you thin’ and Joe Wicks ‘Lean in 15’ recipes. I began walking to improve my fitness, alongside a kettlebell class and although I had kind of reached a plateau I was reluctant to step it up any more at this stage for fear of doing too much too soon and putting myself off exercise all together.

 May 2015 Training for Yorkshire 3 Peak

May 2015 Training for Yorkshire 3 Peak

Joining a running club

I came to my first beginner’s session in April this year following much persuasion from Holly Parry who convinced me to give it a go, despite my reassurances of ‘I can’t run!!’ she talked me round by saying that the beginners sessions were perfect for people like me; an introduction to running with other people of similar ability and no pressure. It would help to keep me losing weight and putting money in the piggy bank so I caved and said I’d come along- after all every one of us has to start somewhere!
Well, we were both right; I couldn’t run very far, but the session was perfect. Ian has this knack of making me continue running when I don’t want to! He was so encouraging without being pushy which is what someone with my mentality needed.
I would never have thought despite enjoying the session that on 16th October in the same year I would run a half marathon in under 2 and a half hours- I don’t think I thought I could ever achieve that in my lifetime.

Through attending the beginners sessions and running with Holly, Ian and Alison I began to see the improvements over time, granted some runs were harder than others, but every week got a little easier plus I had targets to aim for which kept me focussed. I signed up with Holly and Caroline for the Solstice Saunter at Bolton Abbey on 20th June, a five mile run which was anything but flat and the furthest I’d run prior was 3 ½ miles, but it was something to aim for and I’d promised myself that if I did it under an hour I’d reward myself with a fitbit Blaze. I walked a third of the course in and amongst, but managed to just sneak in under an hour.

Solstice Saunter at Bolton Abbey with Holly and Caroline
Solstice Saunter at Bolton Abbey with Holly and Caroline

Manchester Half Marathon

Shortly after this there was talk on the Pumas facebook page of the Manchester Half Marathon, and spaces on the bus were limited… I must have had a serious case of fear of missing out and booked my seat. Panic ensued. What have I done! I can’t run 6 miles?! Let alone 13.1!! I’d better get training…

I downloaded a beginners 12 week training programme from Runnersworld which the facebook group helped me with some of the terminology (apparently HMP is half marathon pace, not Her Majestys Prison, and LSD is Long Slow Distance not drugs).
I did additional runs alone which were sometimes enjoyable and sometimes hard work but each one was essential, I also ran with a couple of friends who are Sowerby Bridge Snails members who run at a similar pace to me. I had some tough weeks where things didn’t go to plan… you find things out about your bodies tolerances and more so your mental state over physical, but the important thing was to keep chipping away at the end goal, not give up and if I’d had a bad day write it off and start again the day after.

Alison and I working the camera at the Manchester Half
Alison and I working the camera at the Manchester Half

I’d been ticking off the sessions on the plan on my fridge and before I knew it the day was here- I was petrified. We got on the coach at 6 45am and off we went to Manchester. The atmosphere on the bus was as to be expected; friendly and supportive.
I was telling anyone who would listen how worried I was and then Alison Shooter offered to drop back a pen and run with me. I felt better immediately. Alison was a tremendous support for me, she gave me a foil blanket for the starting pen as I was freezing, gave me energy gel and kept reassuring me. Basically she was my Run Mum! Without Alison the run may well have been different for me; she made me smile when I felt like crying, ensured I took advantage of the photo opportunities and selflessly kept checking in on me at every single mile- I am truly grateful. Alison helped out another lady at 12 miles who was breaking down, and pulled her through to the finish line. Real Puma spirit!

There was a great inclusive and social feel about the whole day with so many people taking part in their first half marathon and exceeding their own expectations. The reward for this was drinking and eating whatever I wanted following the race… Cakes, Chinese and gin!

Glow in the Park

On 28th October I ran in a 5K at Heaton Park, Manchester called ‘Glow in the Park’- it was more of a fun run than a race, where participants put as much light up/glow in the dark on as possible and ran through disco zones. Great for beginners; no pressure for times etc and plenty of distractions to take your mind off the running.

Glow in the Park with some friends from Sowerby Bridge Snails
Glow in the Park with some friends from Sowerby Bridge Snails
Glow in the Park
Glow in the Park

Then on 6th November I’ve registered for the Abbey Dash 10K where I’m aiming to finish under 1 hour- something which I’ve not managed to do throughout my training. If I achieve this? Brilliant! If I don’t? Nevermind, there’ll be another run to aim for.

Following on from that I’m aiming to hit my weight loss target by losing my last 2 pounds to take me to 8 stone (112lbs/ £112) in total, and hopefully raise just under £1000 for YAA as a number of very kind people offered to match what I put in the piggy bank also.

September 2015
September 2015

I would encourage any beginner to set a short term, realistic and achievable goal with a small reward in mind, whatever that may be; Sign up to a 5K, attend a Pumas session every week, run one extra lamp post than the week- before it really does help. And once you’ve achieved that- set your next goal and reward. All the guys at the club are welcoming and approachable; don’t be afraid to ask for advice. It’s also really important to be kind to yourself and remind yourself how far you’ve come so far- getting kitted up to come to that very first session instead of sitting and watching TV is a huge but important step!   

When: Sunday 6 November 2016

Where: Leeds city centre

Who: Too many Pumas to list!

Thanks to: Helen and Amelia for their smashing write up and Matt for coordinating people, cars and parking.

Early morning…again

Another ridiculously early Sunday morning get up could only mean one thing – another race and Amelia’s first. We somehow managed to drag ourselves out of bed and get ready in time for our lift into Leeds, a bit too tired and cold to really feel the excitement or nerves yet. After driving round in circles for what felt like ages trying to navigate around the road closures we finally got parked up. Getting out of the car we realised how freezing it was and were very glad we had brought our headbands and gloves. I think Carine was rather regretting her decision to wear short shorts though!

Pumas Pre Race
Pumas Pre Race

The walk to meet up with the other junior Pumas seemed to take ages and Amelia was starting to feel the nerves now. The butterflies were starting to flutter in my stomach too but for Amelia, not me. After being re-directed a few times and sent the wrong way a couple more, we finally made it to the meeting point to find a friendly Puma gathering waiting for us. A quick toilet break and essential pre-race photoshoot and the junior Pumas were heading to their starting pen. At this point myself and Carine left the kids in Gabriella’s capable hands and made our way to the adult start. I was starting to feel excited about my own race now, but was disappointed not to be able to watch Amelia’s first race. This is how it went from her point of view:

Amelia and the Junior Dash

I was really nervous that I wouldn’t do very well but wanted to do my best and had decided to try and keep up with Amelie. It was nice to be part of a group entering the starting pen knowing that I had support around me. We did some warm ups first which made me feel a bit silly but everyone else was doing them so I joined in too. Then the man at the front counted down really loudly and we were off! Everyone ran off really fast and I tried to keep up.

Jeremy - winning the competition for best running photo!!!
Jeremy – winning the competition for best running photo!!!

There were lots of children and I had to dodge to get past. I was trying really hard to keep up with Amelie and couldn’t spot the other junior Pumas.

Amelia and Amelie

After a bit, I started getting tired and hoped the finish wasn’t that far. Finally, I went round a corner and could see the finish. I tried to sprint but my legs were too tired, so I just ran as fast as I could over the line. I felt tired but was really happy I’d done my best and had beaten my pb by a whole minute, finishing in 8:39 right behind Amelie at 8:38. The first junior Puma to finish was Jude Kenny in 7:15 and everyone else got amazing times too.

Jude and Rueben leading the Junior Pumas
Jude and Rueben leading the Junior Pumas

We got our t-shirts, medals and lion bar and walked up to try and find Gabby but had to wait for her to come and get us. We had a lovely, warm hot chocolate and then went to watch the adults finishing.

Junior ladies at the finish
Junior ladies at the finish

We had to wait a long time but I was really pleased to see my mum, though she looked like she was about to collapse!

Helen and the 10k

And I was! I’d decided to take a new approach to this race and instead of taking it easy and building up my pace gradually, I was going to go all out from the start.

Once myself and Carine got to the start area we managed to spot a fellow Puma’s tall head above the crowd and went over to join everyone. It was freezing and everyone was wrapped up, to varying degrees, in jackets, scarves and throwaway jumpers with one Puma even in some throwaway jeans! We all kept our layers on as long as possible and I’m sure Neil has never had so many women telling him to take his jeans off! Another male Puma that was enjoying the female attention was Matt as he somehow agreed to pace a group of about 6 of us to try to get 50mins. I knew this was probably a reach too far for me but I wanted to give it a go.

Obligatory start line selfie
Obligatory start line selfie

We finally got underway and were immediately all split up as we tried to dodge people to get round and get a decent pace going. I somehow managed to keep up with Matt and as Amelia had been intent on keeping up with Amelie, I had the same aim of keeping up with Matt. I was not as successful as Amelia though and by around mile 2 his head was only just visible in the distance. I was however, running at a much faster pace than normal thanks to his start and was just trying now to maintain it. This was made really hard, not just by my own lack of fitness but the sheer volume of people that made running more an obstacle course! I managed to spot and try to keep up with Carine and Mike along the way, only to lose them in the crowd.

Chris, looking determined to get to the end
Chris, looking determined to get to the end

By mile 5 my legs were getting heavier and heavier and I was really starting to struggle. I was just thinking of having a little walk to recover when Debbie ran past. That was all the motivation I needed as I had a new target – to try to stay with Debbie. I somehow managed to get my legs going and worked hard to stay with her, even up that last hill towards the finish. Then as I rounded the bend the finish line was in sight. I was so happy to see that finish line and tried to drag a sprint finish out of my legs. Barging past people to try to keep my sprint going I was focused on the finish when suddenly I spotted Simon near me. He gave me a shout of encouragement which saw me over the line where he then had to hold me up as my legs collapsed! On stopping my watch I realised I had smashed my pb by nearly 3 mins. I hadn’t made the 50mins I had aimed for, but 51:57 was near enough for me!

The Finish

I was so happy to see Amelia and find out how she had done and also all the other Pumas and junior Pumas who had done amazing. First Puma home was Tim Brook in a supersonic 40:52 followed by a whole heap of fantastic times. Loads of people managed to achieve pb’s, which considering the crowds and the weather was amazing.

Having run a lot on my own before joining the Pumas I can honestly say finding them was the best thing that ever happened for me and my running. I know for a fact that there is no way I could have got my pb today without the support and encouragement from fellow Pumas, not just on the day but constantly. Amelia also loves it and has made so much progress in a short amount of time. #proudtobeapuma

At the finish line
At the finish line

A round up of all the times (** denotes a new PB)

Name Time
Tim Brook 40m 52s
Andrew Tudor 43m 5s**
Shaun Casey 43m 8s
Chris Ellis 44m 15s
Neil Coupe 46m 17s
Richard Baker 46m 53s
Rachael Helliwell 47m 45s
Matt Newton 51m 3s
Jane Cole 51m 15s**
Grace Illingworth 51m 31s
Helen Jackson 51m 57s**
Debbie Fox 52m 14s
Simon Wilkinson 52m 24s**
Mike Hartley 53m 3s
Carine Baker 53m 10s**
Shana Emmerson 53m 45s**
Victoria Owen 54m 57s**
Alison Wilkinson 55m 53s
Jo Allen 56m 32s
Jodie Knowles 57m 44s
Tiffany Lewis 58m 58s
Nicola Hartley 1:01:24
Susan Burlison 1:01:24
Helen Charles 1:01:52
Caroline Reynolds 1:01:54
Laura Fairbank 1:03:54
Jane Henley 1:05:25

Fun at the Bradford City Runs

Sunday the 30th October 2016. The weekend sandwiched between the Manchester Half Marathon and the Leeds Abbey Dash. While many Pumas were enjoying a well deserved lie in and extra hour in bed, 5 Pumas were meeting up at 8am to travel to Bradford City Centre for the Bradford City Runs – 10k.

Pumas before the start of the Bradford 10k
Pumas before the start of the Bradford 10k

All with different hopes and goals for the morning; Matt Newton was aiming to continue his running success with a new 10k personal best, Wendy Hewitt was hoping to beat her previous time at the Bradford 10k in March by 54 seconds to bring her time below 1 hour, Kelly Smith was aiming to set a new personal best after last completing the race 7 years ago, while Leanne Flesher and Olivia Berry were anxiously hoping to successfully complete the 10k course.

After struggling to access the town centre, due to the closed roads and the girls poor directional skills, Matt finally managed to find a suitable parking space. Then it was hoodies off, and a brisk walk to keep warm to Centenary Square. There was just enough time to register, attach numbers, chips and toilet stop before it was time to wait nervously in front of the old Odeon building ready for the start at 9.55am.

Pumas setting off at the start of the race
Pumas setting off at the start of the race

The road race included two 5k loops of Bradford City Centre. The course took in City Park, Bradford University, The Broadway and Little Germany. There were some sneaky hills and the 2nd lap was definitely more of a struggle than the first.

Matt was the first Puma across the finish line with a new 10k personal best and position 46 out of 338 runners!

Wendy crossing the finish line
Wendy crossing the finish line

Wendy was second, the clock at the finishing line stated 1hr and 5 seconds, so she was over the moon to receive the official time of 59 minutes and 26 seconds!

Matt and Wendy then found a good finishers photo position to take photos of their team mates as they returned.

Official times were:

  • Matt Newton – 45:52
  • Wendy Hewitt – 59:26
  • Kelly Smith – 1:07:49
  • Olivia Berry – 1:09:06
  • Leanne Flesher – 1:12:52

Special recognition goes to Kelly, Leanne and Olivia who usually run in groups 5/4 at an average distance of 3 or 4 miles. To sign up and complete the tough 10k race was truly inspirational… well done girls!

Amazing Pumas in their finishers t-shirts
Amazing Pumas in their finishers t-shirts

The next 10k race in Bradford is the Epilepsy Action Bradford 10k to be held on Sunday 19 March 2017. If you are looking to smash your personal best or try out your first 10k race, this flat race is perfect . The Club will be arranging transport to the race so what are you waiting for, start your training today!