Sunday, 22 February 2015

Huddersfield 10k third time's a charm plus 100 days of running update.

This past Sunday was the Huddersfield 10k and it was the 3rd time I had run this event. It was also the first 10k race I ever entered so it has all sorts of nostalgia embedded into it. The first year I did it I had no idea what I was in for and just gunned it. So when I came across an almighty hill I ran up it far to quick for my fitness and ended up throwing my guts up at the top of it. Which gave me a debut time of 58 mins which at the time I was delighted by. Last year I went into the race with a different mentality and just planning to get round without throwing up and hopefully no walking. However I got to the 2nd hill where the year previous I had thrown up at the top and I mentally psyched myself out. I ran up the hill at a steady pace and just got slower and slower until I gave up and walked the last 10/15 metres. At the top this time there was no surprise appearances from my breakfast and I was soon running again and on to the next hill. I crossed the finish line this time in 51mins knocking 7mins off my PB. I was over the moon with the time and my performance, I also felt a lot more comfortable the 2nd time as I knew a few more people and faces. The first time I took part I was like a lost deer just cautiously trotting about not knowing what to do. 

This years Huddersfield 10k was completely different, so much has changed and happened in the last 12 months. Well mainly in the last 3/4 months if I'm honest due to me taking my running a little bit more seriously and personal challenges I've set myself. Plus with SJ and I being heavily involved in parkrun and junior parkrun we have become friends with lots of other parkrunners. Also I recognise lots more faces from other runs/races throughout the year. This made the race feel a lot more comfortable from the start, but the overwhelming factor that made this years race more exciting than the previous one was the fact that I'm now a member of  Stadium runners, and was running in club colours. 

With my running going from strength to strength recently I was expecting a new PB but wasn't quite sure what it would be on such a tough course. I hadn't even set a goal time until Simon Brass inadvertently set me a challenge by telling me his PB from the previous year when he was in great shape. So I was hoping to be near Simon's PB of 45 mins, which seemed to be the common target of other runners as we congregated in the starting pen. Whilst we were still chatting away with each other the starting horn went and we were off and charging up the drive to the main road. As always the first 3km is a long hard stretch that gets progressively steeper until you reach Netherton where a huge crowd gathers to cheer everyone on. I'm sure the crowds get bigger every year and this year it helped push me that extra little bit up to the top of the climb. There was so many people there that I knew and they were great shouting me and others up the last few hundred metres of the hill before we headed off back down the other side. It's always a welcomed sight after such a long climb and it gives you a chance to catch your breath and pick up the pace again before the next climb. On the run down to the next hill you turn off the main road on to a side road and it was nice to see the Olives corner sign from parkrun so after a quick thank you Olive I was off the main road and preparing myself for the 2nd Hill. As I neared the bottom of the hill Jo King (A guy who lives near me and does training runs on the same hills as me, and I am always trying but failing to beat his Strava segments) past me and gave me a quick "well done Matthew" as he went past. It was great to know that I was running at the same pace as him, as he is fast, so it gave me a boost. So on the next hill I managed to pass him and got to the top of it without walking and without throwing up, which was a big mental achievement. Once at the top I was greeted by yet more friendly and familiar people who cheered me on again. I kicked on and it wasn't long before I was at the 3rd and last climb back up to Netherton. It was another long and steady uphill but this year I was ready for it and even managed to pass Matthew Kelly (a parkrunner who is faster than me and maybe my next target to aim for at parkrun) just as I reached the top. Here you are greeted again by the warm applause and loud cheering from people at Netherton, plus a few photographers.

Jo King was now passing me on the final hill section showing just why he has so many CR Strava segments around the Shelley/Shepley area. But that was the 3 major hills done and it was mainly down hill from here including a downhill that you have to hold yourself back on. It's that steep you could quite easily fall if you just let gravity do the work, so you have to ease off a little. By now a lot of people are starting to slow down as the hills have zapped their energy but this year I was still full of gusto and ready for the last quick section. 

After a little climb from Armitage Bridge up to the main road at Berry Brow it was now time to extend the legs again with only 2km to go. I tried to gradually pick up the pace so that by the finish straight I should be able to give it a sprint finish. I managed the last bit really well and as I reached the driveway to the Rugby ground and finish Mark Nicholson (parkrun ED) was there cheering me on which helped me find a little bit extra as well. I could hear a couple of guys behind me chasing me down so I said to myself 'not today fellas!' and gunned it to the line. I hadn't looked at my watch at all over the last 5km so I had no real idea what time I had got, so when I crossed the line and stopped my Garmin I was surprised at what I had just done. On my 3rd attempt I managed a 43.39min knocking nearly 8 minutes off my previous best, I was over the moon and the little kid in me just wanted to giggle for a while.

I came in 70th place and the 14th Stadium runner which was absolutely brilliant. 

My recent training and my challenge of running a 100 days in a row has definitely worked a treat as I just seem to be improving all the time. There was evidence of this just yesterday when I went down to Stadium Runners and took part in the No Pain No Gain (NPNG) track session, where we did speed work and gradually increased the work effort. Starting with a few laps of steady work, a ladder system, then finished off with a fast couple of 500m. After completing 13 400 metre laps which included 4 rest/recovery laps I managed a 5k PB of 19.24min. Plus after uploading my data at home I found out I had done a few other PBs, my 1 mile time, 2 mile time and a 400m time that could have rivalled my High school PB time.

So after a short run this morning I'm now 86 days into my 100 days of running challenge and only have 2 weeks left to go. I'm still really enjoying it and I'm going to miss it, I am really hoping I can keep my times up when I drop a couple of days from my training.  I'm really proud of the times I am producing at the moment.   Once the challenge has ended my races will have started so I'm sure that I will be trying to improve especially with all my half marathons this Easter.  There is the marathon training that will start in June leading up to the Yorkshire marathon in October. 

So after a great weekend all I can say is thank you, thank you to everyone who cheered me and the rest of the runners up those hills on the Huddersfield 10k. Plus a thank you to Stadium runners you have certainly help me improve since joining you in November.

Keep running everyone


  1. Two years ago, I wrote my first comment on your blog...

    How things have changed :)

    1. I know and that comment eventually lead me to parkrun and well you know the story from there. Cheers Simon

  2. As you flew past me on Sunday, was I disheartened, was I dejected, was I (insert other words that convey a loss of morale), no! Not at all. It was testament to how far you have come with this running malarkey, so I was chuffed to see you motor on by with some ease.

    Now I have to look over my shoulder at parkrun and try and catch you on a 10K. Blinkin brilliant I say.