Date: Sunday 17 April 2016

Time: 9.30am

Distance: 10k and 5k

Location: Trinity Academy Halifax

A clear blue sky and crisp conditions greeted the Pumas that were setting out to complete the Overgate 10k or 5k races.

A few of the Pumas pre-race
A few Pumas pre-race

Talk before the race had been about how hard the course was, that the hills were long and steep and that it’d be quite a challenge. So, it was with a slight nervousness that we gathered together near the start line.

It was fantastic to see so many Puma t-shirts gathering together, and it seemed to boost everyone’s confidence a little bit.

As we made our way over to the start line, the majority of us positioned ourselves near the front of the start. As we’ve all been told, it’s easier to start at the front and let people overtake you than it is to start further back and try to overtake people in front of you.

Here’s a quick start line selfie of us….

Obligatory start line selfie
Obligatory start line selfie

Some of us were made slightly nervous looking at the other participants around us (especially when one of them was Tanya Seager!).

After some very strict rules from the starting lady, the countdown started and we were off.

As soon as we left the main entrance of Trinity Academy we started climbing, it was definitely a hard start to the race, even though it wasn’t the steepest hill we’d encounter, it was definitely a hill. We carried on up towards Bradshaw (after getting some moral boosting cheers from fellow Pumas who were marshalling the race) and past a cenotaph. From here there was a bit of a flat to get your breath back.

This was also the point where the Pumas in the 5k race peeled off and did a smaller loop back towards Trinity Academy.

Then came the killer climb, easily the worst out of the three hills we’d be tackling, a pretty long and steep climb, with a nasty bend half way up (as you thought you might be nearing the top, but no, just more hill!) up towards the Raggalds pub. This was a hard hill.

When we reached the top it was a left turn and then up Perseverance Road. Personally I thought this would be the hardest hill, but in fact it was over pretty quickly and once we’d got to the top we hit the 5k mark and there was the reassuring knowledge that it was pretty much downhill for the rest of the race (it must be true there was a sign telling us so!).

So down we went, carefully at some points, as there were patches of the steep descent that were still icy!

With the knowledge that the worst of it was over people started speeding up, we rounded the corner just after the Moorlands pub. WHAT? WHAT IS THIS? There was another hill!

Feeling a bit mislead, as the sign at the top of Perseverance Road said it was all downhill now, we geared up and slogged up what was definitely the last hill of the race. The top of this hill was around the 9k mark. So the last 1k was all downhill back to Trinity Academy and the finish line. Time to get a sprint on!

As we rounded the last corner fellow Pumas and race marshals Tracey and Melissa were ready to shout some words of encouragement as we gave it everything to get to finish line…they just about found time to do this in between eating their sandwiches!

Hungry work is marshalling
Hungry work all that marshalling

As we finished the race it was great to see fellow Pumas at the finish line, cheering us in. Apart from Luke, who was the first Puma home, so there was no one else there yet to cheer him in!

To say it was a challenging course (around 650ft of climbing in the first 3k) the general feeling was that it wasn’t as bad as we’d all expected.

And brilliant, even on a hilly course, a couple of Pumas even managed to get new 10k PB’s!

Our 10k times and positions were:

  • Luke Cranfield – 41:23 – 9th overall and first Puma home
  • Matt Newton – 47:04 – New PB
  • Liz McDonnell – 47:36
  • Paul Hopkinson – 50:37
  • Neil Coupe – 52:24
  • Andrew Warrington: 52:26
  • Ally Canning – 52:28 – New PB
  • Johnny Meynell – 54.17
  • Holly Parry 54:32
  • Jo Allen – 66:14

Our 5k times and positions were:

  • Katie Lumb – 30:00
  • Helen Charles – 31:10
  • Kerry Hall – 34:40
  • Kirstene Kettlewell – 44:32

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Even Tracey, Melissa, Simon and Sarah had a great time being part of team who were organising and marshalling the race.

We all agreed afterwards that it was a real boost seeing so many of us there, it keeps you going when you could see the other Pumas around you. It was also great to us our club kit amongst the more established clubs like Stainland Lions and Queensbury RC.

Thanks to all the marshals and Overgate Hospice for organising the event. It was a great one!