York, Sunday 8 October, 2017.
Sunday’s Yorkshire Marathon at York saw a real conglomerate of events which attracted several Pumas. Besides the full marathon – 26 miles and all – there was a ten-mile race, and six club members teamed up to take part in the corporate marathon relay to run on behalf of the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund, with which we are closely associated.
PLUSNET YORKSHIRE MARATHON
The Marathon route is one of the most welcoming around, mainly because of its relatively flat nature, with the only climbs being more of the gentle incline-type. Starting out the University of York’s Heslington campus, the route travels through the historic city centre, passing the medieval walls before taking the runners north eastwards out of the city. The route travels through, or close by, Stockton-on- the-Forest, Grange Wood, Upper Helmsley, Stamford Bridge, Gate Helmsley, Turkers Wood, Murton and Osbaldwick before heading back towards the finish at the Heslington campus.
So it’s only natural that in this round-up, the first shout-out must go to Alison Shooter and Paul Hopkinson who set themselves up ready to tackle the full 26 miles and 385 yards. Alison has much experience at these longer distances; half-marathons, or the full Monty, she’ll happily give them a go. But today, by her own admission, things didn’t go as well as planned. That despite the pair setting off in near perfect conditions at 9.30am. Running well inside her own personal targets, Alison suffered a setback in the latter stages. Twice she felt compelled to drop to her knees by the roadside in order to ‘throw-up’ down the drains, first at 18.5 miles, then again at 24. And that despite the earlier divine intervention of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who was encouraging runners on Stamford Bridge Road at Dunnington. Some might want to draw parallels here with the famous Biblical-inspired story of the footprints in the sand, but any immediate help for Alison came via the way of not only Paul Hopkinson, who ran alongside her, but also Jenny Hopkinson, who urged her on from roadside. After stopping the second time, Alison felt her legs turn to jelly, though she gamely soldiered on. Despite giving up all hope of reaching her target time, and with plenty of encouragement from Paul and Jenny, Alison managed to reach the finish line in what was still a credible 5 hours 10:11, a time that proved not only to be her second fastest in a marathon, but also her course PB, as well as having clocking her fastest half-marathon time run over the first half of the course. Paul was with her all the way and they crossed the line together.
Positions and finishing times;
3,446 Paul Hopkinson 5hr 10:11 (chip position 3,432)
3,447 Alison Shooter 5hr 10:11 (3,433)
PLUSNET YORKSHIRE TEN MILE
Not quite a full marathon, but certainly more than a run to the off-license, was the ten-mile event which saw the inclusion of Laura Fairbank, Paul Bottomley and Glenn Ackroyd among the starters. This event set off forty-five minutes after the Marathon and covered the same route for the first five miles before turning off right, picking up the marathon route once more near Turkers Wood for the last four-and half miles.
All three of our runners enjoyed the run immensely. Laura, in fact, was so excited before she’d even reached the start line that she left her headphone adapter for her phone back at the Yorkshire Air Museum ‘park and run’ at Elvington!
It was good to see Laura enjoying herself once more; by her own admission, several months ago she’d really lost the running bug. But with the encouragement from fellow Pumas, not least the aforementioned Alison Shooter, she’s got back into the swing of things. Taking in the sites of the city centre, Laura found the course really enjoyable, and even after they’d gone out beyond the walls she found the support from the crowds a great help. Seeing Lizzie Jones’ smile at her relay changeover point at seven miles gave Laura a lift, and she found the toughest part being the gradual climb just before the downhill stretch to the finish. Having crossed the line and composed herself, Laura said of the race, “An enjoyable route and friendly atmosphere makes it a good middle ground for 10k runners looking to build on their distance, maybe to a half?” then added, “But yeah, it were [sic] really good!”
Sentiments no doubt echoed by both Paul Bottomley and Glenn Ackroyd, who found themselves running ahead of Alison, but as a pair, with Paul helping Glenn complete the course at a steady pace. “I’ve never done this distance and I just wanted to finish,” gasped Glenn, whilst trying to enjoy his complimentary bottle of Erdinger Alkoholfrei alcohol-free beer, the official recovery drink of the Yorkshire Marathon. Glenn and Paul could become something of a double-act. “I couldn’t run for a minute a couple of years ago. Now I can run to Leeds from Bradford,” Glenn said. Paul, in turn, praised Glenn’s achievement, saying, “You did great today, pal,” before adding whimsically, “Although I’m not sure why you’d want to run to Leeds!”
Positions and finishing times;
1,762 Glenn Ackroyd 1hr 35:43 (chip position 1,683)
1,765 Paul Bottomley 1hr 35:43 (1,686)
2,797 Laura Fairbank 1hr 54:43 (2,795)
YORKSHIRE MARATHON CORPORATE RELAY
One way to experience the atmosphere of the Yorkshire Marathon without actually having to run the whole thing is to take part in the corporate relay. Open to business professionals, sports clubs, groups of friends or associations, the contest is a great way of boosting morale, promoting teamwork, networking, or just rewarding yourselves, and with relay distances varying, the run is both accessible and – they say – fun for runners of all abilities.
Six Pumas made up the team running on behalf of the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund; Claire Ramsbottom, Johnny Meynell, Rachael Hawkins, Matt Newton, Neil Coupe and Lizzie Jones, who was entrusted with the baton for the last leg.
Setting off at the same time as the marathon itself, Claire ran the first leg which covered the 4.8 miles and had the thrill of the sight-seeing. After crossing over the bridge over the A64, she handed over to Johnny who then ran the longest leg of 6.1 miles, passing through the picturesque village of Stockton on the Forest and continuing along Common Lane, into Northgate Lane, and then through the suburbs of York to Sand Hutton, where he handed over to Rachael.
Rachael had the shortest leg of 3.2 miles, but she went at a fair pace, enjoying the rural run through Buttercrambe Moor Wood before heading left towards Stamford Bridge, where Matt was waiting to take over. Matt’s leg was 4.1 miles, and he headed towards Murton along the A166, through Gate Helmsley and beyond Dunnington, where he handed over to Neil for the penultimate leg of five miles.
Neil headed back towards Dunnington on the A166 before turning into Holtby, then continued onto Holtby Lane and left down Bad Bargain Lane and onto Murton Lane. Waiting there was Lizzie, chomping at the bit and ready to run the last three miles and bring the baton home, although this wasn’t your conventional stick, more a pink armband. Neil elected to carry on his run and encourage Lizzie to the finish, and together they bore west towards the city and followed the road along the beck through Osbaldwick Village. They turned left on Tang Hall Lane and re-joined the Hull Road before making the climb back towards campus. Reaching the top of the ridge, the finish line was in sight, and Lizzie charged towards it while the crowds cheered her, Neil and all the other runners home. What an atmosphere! What a finish! What a day!
The running leg times were;
Claire Ramsbottom 40:30
Johnny Meynell 01:32:17
Rachael Hawkins 01:57:32
Matt Newton 02:26:08
Neil Coupe 03:06:18
Lizzie Jones 03:32:01
There were 83 teams taking part in the relay; the four Pumas making up Team Danny Jones could be rightly proud of their efforts. Claire Ramsbottom is never one to contain her excitement and she was quick to let everyone know. “Fab day today doing the Yorkshire Marathon Relay for the Danny Jones Fund with a great bunch,” she said. But where did the team finish, I can hear you ask? “We only went and came 10th out of 83. Whooppppp!!” Claire exclaimed.
A really well organised event, from the ‘park and run’ scheme where the competitors were bussed into the campus – and out again once they’d finished – the friendly and helpful marshals, and, as far as the relay was concerned, where the runners were taken out to the changeover spots, then ferried back to base, everyone was really looked after. It truly was a fantastic experience.