Two Weekends in Yorkshire

Michael Teasdale has been on his travels and send us this report:

Over the last two weekends I completed my second triathlon and my first proper 10k in two years.
The triathlon was another super sprint distance (400m swim, 23km bike, 4km run) set in the grounds of Castle Howard. Whilst this was a far more spectacular setting than Cholmondeley Castle, it did have some drawbacks. The transition between the swim in the Great Lake and the run was well over 500m in length – all uphill – and my total time for this was 12:36 – one minute and ten seconds slower than my swim hand been!

The Howardian Hills which Castle Howard is set in lived up to their name, with at least 312m of elevation gained over a rolling bike route which featured some steep climbs and descents. Whilst it was a bit of an uphill grind and I lost all speed getting stuck behind a campervan struggling to squeeze through the Carrmire Gate, riding up the the Avenue on the approach to Castle Howard as the bike leg drew to close was something else.

The transition from bike to run was far quicker and soon I was out in the grounds of the palace on a course which wouldn’t have been out of place in a winter cross country season, albeit far less muddy and waterlogged.

After first dropping back down to the Great Lake it took me up to the Temple of Four Winds, down to the New River and over the New River Bridge (which I think is normally closed to public), up past the South Lake and around the rear of palace with one last climb up to the reservoir before a descent down to the front of the palace and the finish line. With some walking (mainly up the hills) I completed the run in 24:17, with my total time being 1:49:09. Whilst I was slower than my Cholmondeley Castle outing, I felt a lot better about how this triathlon went.

Melissa – who had done the spring duathlon – and we’re in agreement that we wouldn’t be doing the Castle Howard course again in a hurry.

With only a week until the York 10k we stayed down in Yorkshire and had a bit of a summer holiday. For the most part the weather was nice, and when it did change the timing of it was such that the Sunday morning of the York 10k was cool and damp. That is, until the compere jinxed it by announcing that it was indeed perfect weather for a run…
The assembly zones at the start of the race – at York Racecourse – felt very normal in a pre-COVID way, and was quite exciting to be back at a mass start event again.

In the first few kilometres, leading from the Racecourse up Bishopthorpe Road and through Micklegate Bar [gatehouse], you could feel the humidity increasing. As we passed York Minster the bells were ringing, which was a rather nice touch (I imagine to a certain extent it is to York’s running events what the Red Arrows are to the GNR).

The water station in the kilometre and a half stretch alongside the River Ouse was very welcome by this point as the conditions (plus my lack of recent training for this distance) were beginning to take their toll – my pace had dropped from 8:16 in the first 3 miles to 8:39 in the 4th.

Crossing back over the river and cutting through Rowntree Park to Bishopthorpe Road there was only 2km left to go, which included running 500m past the turning for the Racecourse (Campleshon Road) and doubling back. At the bottom of Campleshon Road it was a left turn to the finish (right would take me back to the start) and apparently 300m to go. Running along Racecourse Road I expected to see the finish line but instead turned into the Racecourse and finished in front of the Stands. I measured it on Google Maps layer and the 300m was in fact 500m. That said, it was an impressive setting for the finish, and in some respects very similar to the Great North 10k finishing inside Gateshead Stadium.

Despite it being a relatively flat course I wasn’t expecting a PB and so was happy with my time of 52:00, only 3 and a half minutes off my 10k PB, and it’s definitely an event I’d do again.