Dalby Dash 10k – November 2017

This race is a little different than most as it takes place on the second Sunday in November (otherwise know as Remembrance Sunday) and raises funds for both local and Help for Heroes Charities. This was the 7th running of the Dalby Dash trail 10k and it sells out well in advance each year.

Kippax Harriers ran this race last year as the Autumn Club trip and it was so  successful it was decided to repeat it this year. So in addition to it being on the club championship calendar, the club organised a coach to ferry us all to and from the race. Which in turns means I didn’t have to drive and was therefore free to celebrate post race with a beer or two, or three, you get the gist  😛

The last race I ran was the Yorkshire Marathon back in early October and since then I have been following a “recovery plan” which is designed to prevent runners from running too much too hard straight after the exertion of a hard race. Thus reducing the risk of injury and allowing you to prepare well for your next race. In reality to me, this appealed as it was 5 weeks of running at pretty much exclusively easy pace (I try to avoid running as fast as possible wherever I can as it hurts)  😉

It just so happened that race day coincided with the last run in the recovery cycle which meant I wasn’t allowed to run the race at an all out hard effort. What a shame  😳 There was one hiccup however, and that was that the “plan” stipulated 11 miles rather than the 6 we would be running in the race. So, do I ignore the plan and run hard for 6 Miles and say that equals 11 easy Miles or do I shoe horn an extra 5 easy miles in? The decision was pretty easy, I’d much rather run longer and slower so find an extra 5 miles it was.

Race day dawns and I resign myself to getting out of bed earlier than would have been necessary (maybe I should have done the 6 miles hard after all), breakfast, rucksack packed, shoes on and out of the door for a 5 mile run before getting to club. Within a few steps of the house, I can add “running with heavy back pack on” to my list of running dislikes  😥 About half a mile away from club I pass Andy Hill on his way to meet the coach. I say a quick “Hi” as I shuffle glide past and I’m sure Andy replied with some sort of abuse 😉 After a little detour around Garforth I arrive at club. Unfortunately I’ve only completed 4.75 miles so have to run past everyone  and endure a few “encouraging” calls from the assembled masses until the watch ticks on to the magic 5 miles and I can stop and complete “operation 11 miles” part 1.

The sun is shining and it’s a crisp morning with temperature maybe 3 or 4 degrees. Not bad at all for running. Everyone in the club car park seems in good spirits. After a short wait the coach pulls into the car park and we all clamber aboard for the ride up the A64 to the Dalby Forest Visitor centre.

The race is due to start a few minutes after 11 and we are there in plenty of time for registration. Last years dilemma whilst waiting was Craig Worley agonising over whether he should wear trail or road shoes. (He chose trail in case you are wondering). This year, it was whether to wear just a vest or layer up. The weather was still bright but quite a strong wind had sprung up adding a wind chill factor that would make an eskimo shiver. Lets just say the real men chose just the vest  😉

It’s almost race time and shouts are heard requesting Kippax Harriers runners congregate outside the visitor centre for the pre race photograph. You can see for yourself below it was an excellent turn out by the club. The race director even thanked our captain for the clubs support for the race. Nice touch 🙂

It’s almost 11:00 and we are assembled on the start line where the race director calls for our attention before reading his traditional pre race poem and reminding us of the good causes that our entry fees will help. There is then a 2 minutes silence.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

Taken from “For the Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

The start whistle goes and we are off. The course can pretty much be described as a long uphill, a long downhill, then finish with a mile on the flat – the last mile was cheekily up hill, my Garmin told me!

So almost immediately we are all slogging away, breathing heavily whilst we toil our way up the road along “House Dale”. It was clear that some people hadn’t got the memo that this hill will go on and on and on and on and on and on (you get the idea). These poor individuals had all gone off far too hard and would be in a world of pain for quite some time. The 1km sign come and goes, as does the 2km and then 3km and we are still ascending! Even though I am taking this “easy” paced I’m breathing much harder that I would like at this stage of the race. Maybe it’s lack of oxygen at that altitude?

Finally the gradient eases off and we are running down hill. The hill is finally conquered.Take that Hill! in your face! It’s all free wheeling from here.

With the hill behind me, I expect running to feel easy, my heart rate to drop and my breathing to be a little less like I’m hyper ventilating. However this doesn’t happen and I realise that I’ve fallen into pace with the people around me. They too have conquered the hill, but they aren’t taking it easy, they are putting the same effort levels into the descent. So I have 2 choices, ease off and take it easy and dare I say “enjoy” running down “Sand Dale” and “Heck Dale” or stick with it and endure the discomfort. I decide for the former and ease off. However a part of my brain wasn’t taking instruction from me and stubbornly hung on. I begin to regret each of the earlier 5 miles on the way to club 🙁

Gravity and my stubborn brain (we will have words later!) get me to the bottom of the hill having run much harder than planned. At least I’m not cold anymore. We turn right and it’s just over a mile along a forest trail to the finish line. I’ve put effort in for the previous 8km so I may as well do so for the last couple of km. So lungs burning and face gurning I complete the last section more than happy when the finish line finally comes into view. A final sprint and I manage to nick a few places before crossing the finish line and collecting my cold bottle of water.

I return a short way back down the finishing straight to abuse encourage the Harriers still on course. Then back to the visitor centre to collect my race memento which this year is a rather snazzy pair of running gloves (previous years have been hats, buffs, t-shirts, pottery).

After scraping as much mud from the back of my legs as possible I get back on the coach, grab my bag and head to the toilet to get changed. Wow the toilet was small. Once all Harriers are back on board it’s a short drive to Pickering where we begin “operation recovery” with beer 🙂

After a couple of hours in the pub, feeling a little more drunk refreshed we return to the coach for the journey back to Garforth. The driver even made a little detour to drop a few of us more hardened drunks athletes in the centre of Garforth to continue our recovery.

All in all this was another great day for Kippax Harriers and huge thanks goes to Paul Durkin for organising the day out. I look forward to the next one!