The 29th running of the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k at the weekend saw runners converging on the city from all over the country and among them was a good representation of Morpeth Harriers, writes Peter Scaife.
They were attracted to the popular event by the promise of a high standard of competition and equally fast times.
In recent years, the event has continued to see its numbers swell, with over 9,500 taking part this year.
Its burgeoning reputation also meant that this year, in addition to being chosen as the finale for the prestigious RunBritain series, it was chosen to host the UK Athletics 10k championships in addition to again hosting the annual Armed Forces match.
In conditions that were cool and damp but thankfully still, the Dash from the town centre to Kirkstall Abbey and back, to finish outside the Town Hall, was led by Andrew Butchart of Central AC.
In a high-quality field, he finally broke away from a leading group to triumph in a time of 29m17s, with fellow Scotsman Callum Hawkins of Kilbrachan and Phil Hurst of North East club Elswick Harriers second and third in 29m21s and 29m22s respectively.
An equally strong women’s field was dominated by GB international Steph Twell who won in a fast time of 32m28s, some 30 seconds ahead of second-placed Eilish McColgan and Emma Stepto, both given 33m2s.
First home for Morpeth Harriers was Nick Swinburn, who had been chosen to represent the England team in the race, in a time of 29m56s. Nick was 14th overall.
Close behind him was a runner who has taken part many times in the Dash over the years, leading veteran Ian Hudspith, who was first Over 40 veteran in 30m3s and 20th overall.
Third Harrier home was Richard Morrell, 41st in 30m37s, and he was followed by: Nathan Shrubb, 58th in 31m9s; Ade Whitwam, representing the Army team, 75th in 31m27s and eighth veteran O/35; Carl Avery, 86th in 31m39s; Andy Lawrence, 112th in 32m9s; Ross Floyd, 114th in 32m13s; Tom Straughan, 145th in 32m46s; Sam Hancox, 147th in 32m47s; Karl Taylor, 152nd in 33m35s; Lee Morgan, 335th in 35m19s; Rob Hancox, 36m41s and Paul Brown, 556th and 28th O/45 in 37m49s.
Among those running personal bests on the day were Avery, Lawrence, Straughan and young Sam Hancox, who capped a breakthrough year by knocking over a minute and 20 seconds of his previous time for the distance.
In the women’s race, Morpeth’s Vicki Gibbs and Josie Cram both had good runs, with Gibbs 19th O/35 in a time of 38m19s and Cram 66th senior in 40m12s.
With next year being the 30th anniversary of the race, the 2015 Abbey Dash looks one to put in the calendar now.