Sunday, 17 November 2013

My first Leeds 10k Abbey Dash 2013

This Sunday it was my first ever Leeds 10k Abbey Dash and also the biggest event I've been to so far.

My running friend Steve and I both signed up for it a couple of weeks ago and both of us hadn't really done any training for it other than a couple of 5k runs on a Thursday night and a steady parkrun on Saturday. But both of us still wanted to beat our PBs and smash them at that.

We arrived in Leeds nice and early and made our way across the city centre to the gathering area and start pens. Some how even though Steve is faster than me, I ended up in the Sub 45 group and Steve in the Sub 55 group. We got to the start area and there was already a couple of thousand people there warming up, using the toilets or dancing to the music that was blasting out across the empty site of the old international swimming pool knocked down a while a go. 

At the far corner were the start pens with enormous flags attached with the different group colours and category on them. 

After the official warm up we all gathered in our assigned pens, even if some people just ignored the different groups and went where they wanted to go. Which I didn't mind if your trying to improve your time and you think your fast enough but some people were from the 60+min group and as we started running were instantly passed, and got in the way a bit. Soon enough though we were on our way and spreading out and running at our usual pace. 

The route for the Abbey Dash isn't the most interesting route by all means but it's the whole event that gets the adrenaline going and the crowds along the road that keeps your mind focused. As the run unfolded I found myself hitting mental walls at various stages that co inside with what my body is used to. At the turn and 5k point I hit my parkrun wall where my body thought I would stop, but once I was passed that my body surrendered and seemed to just say, ok we're still going, alright. So I still kept my pace going at a similar time to the first 5k. Up until 8k I was ok but here is where I've always seemed have to a mental wall. From 7.5k to 8k I think I slowed a touch but once again as I passed that wall I found it a bit easier again. That didn't last long at all though, as I hit 9k the lack of practice runs took its toll and my cardio was shot. My legs felt ok but my lungs where just burning and my head was pounding from dehydration. It was here where I realised I might not break my PB and the last few hundred metres were slow and as others still pushed on and passed me on the finish straight it was hard. Then I realised that Steve who was in the wave behind me still hadn't passed me this cheered me up as even though he will have a faster time I will beat him to the line. Then with 200 metres to go Simon from Huddersfield parkrun passed me on a mission to beat his PB of 45.55 and I knew if he kept going he would smash it, so I have him a big "go on Simon" as he passed and then I tried to push on myself. I crossed the finish line and forgot to stop my running app until I was further up the finish funnel, so I had no idea what time I got.

 I caught up with Simon and congratulated him, he showed me his watch showing a time of 44 mins something so he had beaten his PB and smashed it too. Unluckily later on though he found out his timing chip had failed so ended with a DNF instead of a new PB which is a shame, but just means he'll have to beat it next year instead.

After collecting my T-Shirt and drink I went to wait at the pre-arranged meeting point that Steve and I said we would be at, after we finished. To my surprise Steve was already waiting for me, so I asked him when he passed me as I hadn't noticed him passing me. He said that when they were moving the pens to the start line he jumped on ahead of me, so he was always ahead of me. Oh well the thought of being ahead of Steve kept me going that last bit of the run. 

As we got back to the car to go home we were discussing times and as I wasn't sure what time I had got I had come to the conclusion that if I beat my PB 46.21 then I'm happy but if I do manage to get under 46 mins I'll be ecstatic. About 10 seconds later no lie I got my result text in and my Gun time was 47.23 but my chip time was 45.58!!!! Yay!!! I did it, great! 

That did it, that perked me right up and topped off a great weekend of running and family time. So a big thanks to Steve for driving and for inadvertently spuring me on the last few hundred metres. Big thanks to Simon and Huddersfield parkrun for the only bit training I really did. Plus a big thanks to my family for joining in with the running these past few months you've made it just that extra bit more special.

Keep running everyone


  1. I've informed the Abbey Dash folks, and hopefully my time will be officiated and sorted.

    I'll still have to run faster and beat it next year though ;)

  2. So pleased for you that you did under 46....brilliant x