On the 7th April, I had my first Yorkshire Road Relays at The Brownlee Centre, North Leeds. I was quite nervous as I hadn’t raced on the road in a while.
On Saturday morning I had to pack all my kit after forgetting to do it the night before. Unsure of what I needed to take, I properly over packed as I’m use to taking several waterproof jackets; plus enough pairs of gloves and socks to last me a week. But hey I get cold and what’s the harm in taking too much.
After persuading Jack (who had come up for the weekend) to get out of a warm bed to stand, watch me and take photos in the cold at the side of the track, we went down for breakfast. I was the first one down for breakfast which wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a race day. I had my usual breakfast of 2 Weetabix and milk for breakfast. By this time Matthew had come down too, shortly followed by your Mum and puppy, Alfie. I made Mine, Jack, my Dad and Matt lunches for the day. Papa John then finally made an appearance. Leaving shortly after we picked up Dave Woodhead, who had asked for a lift to take photos at the event.
Upon arriving we went into the Brownlee Centre to stay warm as it was quite wet and chilly until the rest of the Bingley team had arrived which also meant we then had somewhere to leave our bags. Having a recce/wander around where the race was. The races were around the cycle track and mine consisted of 2 lap’s; 1 mile each with a slight uphill on one half of the loop. Matt and my Dad got to run 1 more lap to me. The first 2 age groups of the day (U13 and U15) were both individual race, with the U17 and the senior event being relays.
I watched the U13 and U15 races prior to getting ready for my run. The Bingley ladies had 2 teams comprising of 4 athletes. I was in Bingley B team and running 3rd leg. After getting my number attached to my crop top, I went for a warm up jog with Phoebe (Bingley A team) and Caroline Francis (Bingley B team). We went out of the centre up onto the main road and jogged about 3km for our warm up. I went back to where our bags were and did some drills before putting on the racing flats I wore.
Before I knew it the first leg athletes were off. I stood at the side of the track watching and cheering as they go past.
When the second leg athletes set off, I choose to go across to the start area to finish my warm up. I also got to chat with some friends who had finished their leg and who were on my leg; we talked about University and how things were goings before wishing each other good luck and well done. All leg 3 runner then got called over and had a general briefing about how the change over would work. Several teams got called up as there athletes came around to the change over area and I watched them run off around the lap. When my leg 2 runner came around “Bingley” got called out to the area, and I felt ready…..
I found myself on the start line, looking forward at the course ahead of me. Knowing I had Erica Byram (Holmfirth Harrier) moving onto her second lap, I felt I wanted to the lead I had on her for my first lap. When the official said go my legs took over, I was flying. I knew Id set off too fast, but I didn’t feel like slowing down, I felt comfortable.
Having Erica push me around the first lap was a great help. I pushed the way up the slight incline to the top of the laps and then to stride out going down to the lower section of the course. Erica overtook me going into the final sections of her race. But I didn’t make it easy, apparently!!
After having a strong first half of my leg, I kept pushing onto the second half. I still felt strong at this point still overtaking runners in front of me. I pushed around the flat top section and strode out down past the club flag before the last mini loop to the change over area. By the end, I was very tired and I knew I had given it my all. Erica was waiting at the side of the course to see me finish with Jack, Matt, my Dad, Lucy Byram, and Olivia Sykes.
I was so happy with my race, something which I hadn’t felt in a while. I feel like I’m one step closer to where I want to be. I was delighted to how I ran and to have pushed all the way. I completed my leg in 13.18, with the splits for each lap being within seconds of each other, and I was the 26th fastest leg of the day. Bingley A team finished 4 (10 seconds behind 3rd) with Bingley B finishing 16.
After the race, I felt very dizzy, cold and sick. I went back to where the Bingley team was based and got my legging and jumper back on (after Jack nagged me several times) and got a warm drink to help me feel warmer. I was still shocked at how well my race had gone. It was almost disbelieving I was feeling.
After the junior and senior women’s it was the men’s turn to race. My Dad and Matt both taking part. The men had to do 3 laps of the 1 mile track and Bingley had 4 team’s out. Both Dad and Matt had good runs of their own, finishing in times of 20.59 and 15.13 respectively.
We went back inside when the day had finished to see the results before heading off home.
I was delighted with my run and so happy to see some improvement in my racing. Hopefully my success will continue and my last cross country race will be good, its the AoC finals in Nottingham on the 21st April.
Photos were taken by Jack Crownshaw – Yorkshire Road Relay Album and Dave Woodhead – Woodentops Website
Relay Results on Wakefield Harriers
Until next time