Temple Newsam Ten,
Sunday, 14 January, 2018.
They say there’s no rest for the wicked. Why else would Pumas Andrew Mellor and Peter Reason find themselves tackling this relatively new event, the Temple Newsam Ten? Hosted by St Theresa’s Athletic Club, this race, now in its third year, has already become an established part of the running calendar. Last year, all one thousand entries were snapped up; Andrew and Peter took no chances and booked well in advance.
So what was on offer? Well, the official site describes the event; “Staged in the beautiful grounds of the Temple Newsam Estate, discover 500 years of history with the magnificent country mansion set within 1500 acres of beautiful parkland. The course is mainly bridle and country paths (it could be muddy) covering areas of the estate that you wouldn’t normally see. There are stunning views of the 17th Century House and gardens designed and re-landscaped by Capability Brown. The course also takes in the nearby nature reserve, lakes and canals that form part of the Woodlesford navigation.” Why, it almost makes you think you’d want to set off with a picnic hamper. But this is January, of course, so the runners may have been drawn to the bit that states (almost as if it was an afterthought) that the course could be “muddy”. The runners had been warned.
With the Tudor/Jacobean Temple Newsam Stately Home providing a scenic backdrop, the course, in a nutshell, took the runners out through fields, tracks, paths and trees, running anti-clockwise around the Temple Newsam golf course, under the M1, then again anti clockwise around the lake of Skelton Country Park, back under the M1, then following the route through trees, along Bullerthorpe Lane before heading back to the finish line in the field where they’d started some time earlier.
Whilst the clock ticked its way down to 9.30, the eight-hundred or so runners huddled behind the start line, and before you knew it, the race was under way. Andrew and Peter positioned themselves near the rear of the field and adopting the attitude of ‘someone’s got to do it’ they set off. Ahead of them lay ten miles – you sure get your money’s worth at events like this – of wet grass, puddles and mud, and whatever else the course threw at them.
Though they set off together, Peter soon pulled away from Andrew, but both loved it, of course. Negotiating the obstacles in their own manner, Peter, painting pictures with words, described his attempt at tiptoeing around the edge of the mud as being “like a hippo trying to walk a tightrope,” whilst Andrew used all his Winter League experience to take the quickest route – directly through each and every puddle. With two miles to go, Peter began to feel the pain of a blister on his small toe (left foot), but undeterred, he soldiered on, climbing the last hill through gritted teeth before entering the finishing field. “My hero,” wife Sharon would later call him when he arrived home for Sunday dinner, whilst Andrew was beaming with pride as he showed off his first bling of 2018, a runner’s finish medal (not the T-shirt). It’s what it’s all about.
Finishing positions and times (age category and position);
395 Peter Reason 1:34:02 (M45 63/91)
418 Andrew Mellor 1:35:23 (M35 50/63)