Race Recap: Leeds Abbey Dash 2023

I am extremely late with this race recap. The autumn got away from me a bit. Never mind – at least I’m getting it posted now before my 2024 race season begins.

Geth and I both wanted one final crack at the 10k distance in 2023 after the Great North Run was out of the way. I hadn’t yet broken sub-hour and I was sure I could, while Geth hadn’t yet properly tackled a 10k race in 2023 due to his spring injury. We settled on Leeds Abbey Dash because it was said to be fast and because we both always enjoy a trip to Leeds – one of our favourite cities.

Leeds Abbey Dash
Start line selfie!

Following a nice Saturday evening in Leeds and a good night’s sleep at our favourite city centre hotel, we made our way to the start line. It was fairly cold now that we were well into October, especially as I have now made the decision to brave races in shorts and vest all year round.

As such, I felt a bit frozen solid when I started! But I soon warmed up and de-stiffened, and quickly caught the one-hour pacers, which was a good sign. The course is largely an out and back, which meant that once I was a couple of miles in and the leaders were coming back the other way, I had lots of people to focus on as I ran, and I was able to look out for Geth.

I felt really strong at the turnaround and after that it was just a case of hanging onto the pace, especially as I was mostly overtaking people rather than the other way round. I had to talk to myself quite hard during the last couple of miles, but I did manage to stay focused, and in the end I crossed the line in 54:23. Not just the sub-hour I’d been chasing for eight years, but also a sub-55!

I wasn’t really able to find the words at the time (part of the reason I’ve taken so long to get round to this blog), and even three months later my self-perception still hasn’t caught up with the paces I’ve been doing, especially as I’m still improving. I still find it a bit hard to believe that I was able to take such a big chunk off my 10k PB (previously 1:01:21) as I had had a few good cracks at it in the late spring and early summer. Three and a half months made such a difference!

I’m not really thinking about 10ks at the moment as I’m in the depths of marathon training. But I do have a few booked in 2024 so it’d be lovely to continue along this trajectory 🙂

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