By Dawn Higgins
Sunday 17 February marked the final race of the Northowram Pumas 2018-19 Championship Series. Whilst some had opted to run the Great North West Half Marathon in Blackpool, a dozen or so ‘point chasing’ Pumas gathered in Robertstown for the Liversedge Half Marathon (at a very civilised 11 am race start)!
The course at Liversedge was described by some Pumas (who had done a recce some weeks earlier) as a toughie, with lots of up and some down and which the race organisers Robertstown Road Runners described as a route “mainly through rural areas which is testing in places”. Previous years’ events had seen snow, hail and freezing temperatures, however, the weather was forecast to be kind, with a dry and sunny day and perhaps just some wind to contend with.
After gathering for the obligatory team photo at Race HQ (minus Shaun who has already set off for the start line) we were off. Starting at Commonside, where the road was closed to traffic, the 468 runners embarked on the initial downhill stretch, lasting about a mile. The course then steadied out a bit, up through Liversedge, passing newly muck-spreaded fields to get to above the motorway. Passing the Old Pack/New Pack pubs, we settled in at four miles for the descent into Bailiff Bridge and the slog on Bradford Road. Crossing the Ford, it was the beast of a hill up to Clifton that showed who hill trains around here!
A steady plod up the hill (no stopping) and we picked up a small section of Leg Six of the Calderdale Way Relay at Clifton before a water (and jelly babies) stop around mile eight. Thus followed the ‘mad mile’, a steady incline up past Willow Valley Golf Club to head back past the poo fields! Returning towards Robertstown, you can see all the runners in front, aware that there are still two miles with a last push uphill! A final push and a left turn back on Commonside, the finish is in sight (albeit, farther away than you’d like) but then comes the Rock Star Moment!
Commentary over the PA system, with your name and club announced like you’ve won the blummin’ thing! Awesome! (Even if your race number did say you were Simon ‘he’s had major surgery you know’ Wilkinson!, they got it right!) What can I add? Yes, it’s hilly, but that’s the challenge! It’s almost scenic in parts! It stayed dry and bright! It was windy! It was well marshalled by friendly folk, giving up their time and their jelly babies! Lots of clubs are represented from all over! It’s a great race! (And that’s from me, who doesn’t even like running!)
Some fantastic results from the day;
Leading the Pumas Charge, Tim Brook in a brilliant 1.25.51 and 17th overall!
Jude Roberts in 1.32.47 and being modest on Strava
Andy Sales showing off his marathon training at 1.38.52
Matt Newton being lazy in 1.42.04
Shaun Casey coming back on form in 1.44.22
Diane ‘Machine’ Cooper leading the ladies in 1.45.03
Kirsty Edwards in a not too shabby 1.47.34
Andrew Mellor knocking a sensational 18 minutes off his previous HM PB in 1.47.34
Andy Flynn in only his second HM with a PB of 1.55.18
Dawn Higgins (me) getting round in 2.03.44
And Helen Charles with a fantastic race at 2.17.34