Left home at about 5.15pm yesterday to run to The New Inn, Eccup for the start of a four mile club handicap. My 1 hour 45 minute warm up took in Pool, Bramhope, Cookridge and Adel and was about 12.5 miles in length.
The actual event - which includes two miles of trail and a large hill near the end - took me just less than 26 minutes. I was well pleased with this as it was my fastest time since the year 2000.
I set off with Chris Stacey, Huw Illingworth, Laura Martin and a new member whose name I don't know. Huw set off faster than expected and within 400m I knew I wouldn't catch him unless he faded badly. At about half a mile Chris edged ahead of Laura and myself with the new kid just behind. About half way along the road by Eccup Reservoir I pulled away from Laura slightly and about a mile later unexpectedly caught Chris on the rough trail leading into Harewood Estate. At this point I glanced behind and knew that Laura wasn't going to catch me again, out in front I could see lots of the earlier starters and began picking them off one by one - Tom Hannah, Phil Robinson, Elizabeth Ashton, Carol Armitstead, Carl Walsh, Dominic Egan, Racheal Bamford and Graham Stead. I was feeling good and even managed a good sprint finish to hold off Graham when he tried to pass me again.
The 8.7 mile run home was completed in just over 70 minutes. Again, it wasn't exactly flat, but the last two miles were downhill. The pace was good and I wasn't trying too hard.
A very good run which will be my longest now before the Commonwealth Championships in mid September.