Ten members of Grantham Running Club took part in the 33rd Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash 10K. The race, which took place on Sunday 4th November and attracted more than 10,000 runners, lacks the sights and sounds of some other city centre races, but the straightforward out and back course along the A65 (with a brief departure through a multiplex cinema car park!) has earned a reputation as being one of the fastest 10K races in the country, regularly attracting some of the best national athletes and many of the best club runners in the country.
First home for GRC was Matthew Kingston-Lee, who went into the race with aspirations of perhaps bettering his three year old 10K PB of 34:08. Alas it was something of a lacklustre day in the office for Matthew. More or less on target at halfway, he faded in the second half of the race, struggling particularly in the final two kilometres when the steady headwind, which marred otherwise perfect conditions, wore him down.
Perhaps not fully recovered from the previous week’s Worksop Half Marathon, Matthew finished in 34:52, which wasn’t even a season’s best, but thanks to having become a year older surprisingly earned him his second highest ever age grade score of 83.34%. As a measure of the quality of the field, his time – which would have won the Rockingham 10K that took place on the same day - saw Matthew finish only 238th, but he did finish a highly respectable fourteenth in his age category.
Next to finish was Ian Williams, one of two GRC runners to also represent the Royal Air Force at the race and making his debut with the club. Ian ran a great race to finish in 37:22, which was nearly a minute quicker than his previous best set in May, and saw him move to #4 for 2018 in the GRC 10K rankings.
Peter Bonner was the next to cross the line. The prolific racer, who over the course of the summer improved his 10 K PB from 41:34 to 40:20, had targeted ‘the Dash’ as the race to finally break 40 minutes. With the plan to run 3:55 kilometres, a determined Peter had a near perfect race (aside from some difficulties with the 40 minute pacer!) to cross the finish line in 39:18, beating his old best by over a minute. Vying for contention to be GRC runner of the day was Dean Riggall who bettered his 2015 PB by 52 seconds, breaking the 40 minute barrier with an excellent 39:42. As another indicator of the quality of the field, this only netted Dean 652nd position in the race!
Andrew Pask, the second GRC runner to be wearing RAF colours through the streets of Leeds, was another member of the ‘decidedly disappointed’ camp. Having enjoyed some great form recently he hoped to at least break 40 minutes and ideally better his 2014 PB of 39:55. His finishing time of 40:11 matched June’s Woodhall Spa 10K time, which was held in far worse conditions. Convinced he can run much quicker, Andrew plans to return for the 2019 race and do himself justice. Paul Rushworth, with his immediate and extended family in tow to cheer him on, put in a fine performance to clock 43:32. This was over a minute faster than his 2018 10K best, coming just a week after finishing the Half Marathon in Worksop, and was his fastest 10K since 2013.
Penny Hodges was the first of two GRC women to finish. She was another to leave a touch discontented by her race. Pleased enough to break 45 minutes with 44:53, 163rd woman and an excellent 19th in her age category, the time was a frustrating eight seconds shy of earning her a silver age grade certificate, meaning Penny is now on the hunt for another 10K race to find those extra seconds before the year is out.
Warren Stark was very pleased with his time of 47:46 given he was looking for something between 45 and 50 minutes and that time falls very neatly in the middle. Warren was followed by husband and wife duo Richard and Dona Hall. Running and finishing together Richard paced Dona to a time of 01:01:15, which saw her break the 60% age grade barrier for the first time – her score of 61.41% earning her a bronze certificate at the forthcoming club awards night.
The race was won by Adam Craig of Inverclyde in 29:08 with the women’s race won by Irish international athlete Fionnuala Ross of Armagh AC / Shettleston Harriers in 33:30. Local talent Lucien Allision of Lincoln Wellington AC was brilliant third in 29:33. Age UK announced after the race that more than £250,000 was raised for the charity.