Dewsbury 10k,

Sunday, 4 February 2018.

Records were tumbling left, right and centre amongst the Northowram Pumas when they took on the Dewsbury 10k on Sunday. This flat out-and-back course is recommended for those looking for a personal best, but by the look of some of the times here, they actually took the term ‘smashed it’ to another level.

The Pumas pre-race, all set to stir things up.

The Pumas’ On Tour Express was called upon once more, with resident mad-cap driver Neil Coupe making sure the entourage arrived safely. All-told, there were eighteen Pumas taking part; the unfortunate Debbie Fox, who ran this event last year and subsequently introduced us to the charms of Big T’s Enchanted Café for breakfast, was a last minute withdrawal, whilst others who pulled out earlier included Glenn Ackroyd, Gill Holmes and cruel flu-victim Shana Emmerson, but their places were filled by others. Claire Ramsbottom hadn’t intended running but when her friend Sonia Hobman found herself unable to make it, our Claire happily stepped in.

There were over one thousand two hundred runners who lined up for the 9.00am start, but they set off on time in near perfect running conditions, heading out on the A652 Bradford Road for three miles, before turning around and heading back to the Dewsbury town centre and the finish line. Almost exactly the same as in previous years, if we overlook the over-zealous officials who had us run an extra two hundred metres last year.

Starting line selfie sees Helen Jackson, Anna Ralph (just), Jodie Knowles, Claire Ramsbottom, Neil Coupe and Simon Wilkinson. Peter Reason obviously needs to grow a little.

As with the Abbey Dash, this was all about the time, and the Pumas truly excelled themselves. Taking the honours of #FPH was Luke Cranfield, finishing 76th in an incredible time of 36:24, a performance made all the more remarkable given that up until zero hour he was undecided whether or not to bother running, not to mention that fact that he’d never run below forty minutes before either! Tim Brook may have been disappointed to have followed him home, some twelve places behind, but his time of 36:43 was a personal best for him, too, and by some way. Back in November he ran the Abbey Dash in what was then his fastest time of 37:57. So he could be satisfied, himself, really.

The runners are off. Six miles later they’ll be back exactly where they started.

Rick Ralph was third Puma home, knocking a sizeable chunk off his previous best, whilst behind him was Jude Roberts, feeling totally giddy after going sub-forty minutes for the first time. Also raising – or lowering – his own bar was Matt Newton, coming home in 41:27, while Kirsty Edwards was the first female Puma home, clocking 44:42, an astonishing time, over 2 ½ minutes faster than she ran at the Abbey Dash. Peter Reason was happy with his time of 46:26, whilst Simon Wilkinson used up every last fibre of energy to pip Neil Coupe on the line, although he may not have done had Neil not been running on a self-diagnosed ‘half-a-lung’, nor had an earlier shoe lace malfunction.

Ian Evans continued his rapidly improving form. At the Abbey Dash he completed the 10k course in just over an hour; at Dewsbury he showed just what can be done with sheer hard work and dedication by finishing in 47:21, some thirteen minutes faster. There was also a personal best for Sarah Haigh, whilst Claire Ramsbottom was beside herself after running her first-ever sub fifty. As, too, was Jodie Knowles, who knocked over three minutes off her previous best, whilst young Charlotte Reason was also delighted with her fastest-ever time. And a special word must be reserved for Dawn Higgins, who took part despite a niggling knee injury. She still managed to set her fastest time over 10k despite running on one leg. I must try it myself sometime.

The end is nigh as Peter Reason weaves through the pack.

Completing Pumas’ set were Helen Jackson, happily getting back into the swing of things after her own injury problems and satisfied with a time of 54:49, and Anna Ralph, for though she may have been the last team member home, her time of 55:15 represented her own personal best, being a minute and half faster than at the Jane Tomlinson Run For All event last July.

So the race director berates the designer, “I told you I wanted a logo featuring a CLOCK.” Neil Coupe affords a wry smile as he sports the offending T-shirt. “It’s a decent size,” he claimed before tucking into his dinner of meat and two veg.

When all had been safely gathered in, and times had been digested, scrutinised and then compared like-for-like, almost in the manner of children with their school reports, attention was then diverted to the race’s biggest talking point. The finishers’ T-shirt. I know much hard work goes into all the planning of these events, and it wouldn’t be right for me to belittle the organisers, but it does seem that whoever designed the logo that emblazoned the front of the shirts was either in a very churlish mood, or was just plain naive. Either way, it grabbed all the headlines for the wrong reasons, but who knows, maybe record entries next year?

Pumas’ positions and chip times;

76 Luke Cranfield 36:24

88 Tim Brook 36:43

134 Rick Ralph 38:08

203 Jude Roberts 39:49

263 Matt Newton 41:27

416 Andrew Tudor 44:59

419 Kirsty Edwards 44:42

486 Peter Reason 46:26

505 Simon Wilkinson 46:41

510 Neil Coupe 46:41

543 Ian Evans 47:21

554 Sarah Haigh 47:41

641 Claire Ramsbottom 49:34

643 Jodie Knowles 49:36

742 Dawn Higgins 51:42

883 Helen Jackson 54:49

882 Charlotte Reason 54:50

893 Anna Ralph 55:15

1,229 runners.