The Airedale Triple series comprises the Baildon Boundary Way half marathon, Meanwood Valley Trail Race, and Guiseley Gallop. We had a small but committed group of the P&B faithful competing at each event, with myself and Rachel running all three to complete the Triple.
Baildon Boundary Way – half marathon – 6th April 2014.
It was good weather for the 20th BBW race as the 368 runners set off up the grassy field that starts the half marathon distance race. Colin, in strong form, remained with the forerunners while further down the pack myself and Andy kept pace and ran together. Rachel, having run Pendle the previous day, took things a bit steadier but was not far behind.
The otherwise slightly monotonous canal section was kept interesting by a belligerent swan in the middle of the towpath (“Watch your knackers Andy!” I shouted over my shoulder as we trotted past) and some very good spirited support/heckling at Shipley.
Up at the front, Colin battled with Tom Hooper of Bingley for 1st place but was resigned to a still-very-respectable-2nd. Meanwhile, Andy and I were still keeping pace by the time we got to the moors but in a display of true P&B camaraderie Mr Birkenshaw advised me to push ahead if I had the legs for it, meaning I finished in 48th place with Andy only a couple of places behind in 50th. Despite taking it a bit easier, Rachel still put in a strong performance finishing 4th Lady and 67th overall.
A very enjoyable race, well organised and marshalled by Baildon Runners, and a bit of a change from the usual fell stuff.
Colin Walker 2nd overall (1st M40) 1:23:53. Graham Pilling 48th 1:43:22. Andrew Birkenshaw 50th 1:43:59. Rachel Pilling 67th (4th F) 1:48:03. (Full results)
Meanwood Valley Trail Race – 7 miles – 12th April 2014
With a quick descent through woodland and parkland down to Meanwood Beck and then a steady climb all the way back, this is a great undulating trail race.
Nothing if not consistant, once again Colin remained in the leading pack throughout but was pipped to the line by a mere 5 seconds to finish 2nd overall and 1st M40 – still a fantastic run considering he’d cycled to the race.
Alex also had a great run, with photos capturing his usual smiling countenance, finishing in a solid 9th place. Rachel and I were around the same pace for much of the descent down to the beck but I clawed a few places ahead and felt like I had a decent run to finish in 28th, with Rach not far behind in 32nd (and 3rd lady).
Bottles of beer to the finishers (an extra one for me kindly donated by Colin – cheers!) and a chat and a coffee over prizegiving rounded off an enjoyable morning’s racing and a good performance allround from our modest crew of P&B.
Colin Walker 2nd overall (1st M40) 43:13. Alex Jones 9th 46:40. Graham Pilling 28th 51:59. Rachel Pilling 32nd (3rd F) 52:39 (Full results)
Guiseley Gallop – 10k – 20th April 2014
Guiseley Gallop was the first race I ran, back in the not-so-distant past, so I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for it. This time round it seemed much busier and a lot ‘roadier’ than I remember – a feeling probably exaggerated by it being quite dry where there have previously been a few gloriously muddy sections. It’s a relatively fast course, which covers some of the same route as the Baildon Boundary Way, with a few short climbs made a little more potent by them being mostly right at the end.
Only 3 of us out for this one, with Neil finishing in 42nd and afterwards saying he wasn’t quite feeling it. Despite initial optimism, I think Rach and I were most certainly still a bit heavy-legged from running up in the Lakes a few days prior. For me, I have to confess, I completely died on the canal section, of all things…! Rach was 73rd and 4th lady, and I loped in at 76th and 14th M35. Tom Adams saw another convincing victory at the ‘Gallop, largely uncontested, with almost a clear 2 minutes ahead of second place.
A nice morning’s racing with some great support from Ian Nixon with baby Bronte in tow (great to see Jess Nixon running the race too) — and of course a bottle of ale for the finishers.
Neil Armitage 42nd (5th M45) 42:19. Rachel Pilling 73rd (4th F) 44:53. Graham Pilling 76th (14th M35) 44:58. (Full Results)
The Airedale Triple
33 people ran all three races in order for their cumulative times to be ranked in the prestigious Airedale Triple Trail results. I ended up 10th overall (and 4th M), and Rachel was 11th (and 3rd F).
Great to see some claret-and-gold making appearances at these local trail races, and well done to everyone who ran as well as the clubs and volunteers who organised each of the races.