22 May 2024

‘It’s more than just running’

This is our club motto.

The reason we know each other is through running but Hornsea Harriers is also about love, friendship and making memories that will last a lifetime.

On Sunday, May 13, Caroline and I ran hand in hand over the finish line at the Leeds Half Marathon. It was the perfect ending to an amazing weekend. I actually live in Leeds but have been adopted by the Harriers and I run with them in Hornsea whenever I can.

Through the club I’ve met some amazing people and developed fantastic friendships. My weekend started when Caroline stayed with me on the Saturday night. We went out for dinner, has a cheeky glass of wine or two and set the world to rights.

We were then up early on Sunday as we wanted to meet with the Harriers who were running the full marathon and see them set off. The marathon and the half-marathon set off at different times.

While we were chatting with the marathon runners and taking the obligatory race day photos we had the privilege of seeing Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield making their way to the start line. I don’t think there was a dry eye among us.

We then said good luck to our friends who had to go to their pens for the start. Caroline and I cheekily sneaked through to a secure area which meant we were able to see our friends start their race. As I run the race I’ve never actually seen the start. To say it was emotional would be an understatement.

Seeing thousands of people either running for a charity close to the hearts or running for a loved one brought tears to my eyes again.

Then it was our turn to run. The day had started off cloudy and cool but by the time we were in our starting pen the sun was breaking through and it was getting very warm. Leeds is extremely hilly and by only mile 2 it was incredibly warm. The course was brutal and they day just kept getting hotter. The roar of the immense crowds helped to keep us going.

Caroline was my cheerleader all through that hot and hilly race and her love and encouragement helped me get in at 2 hours 21 minutes. While this isn’t a personal best it was my fastest half since the menopause. Given the heat and terrain I was delighted with that time. How the people in fancy dress coped I will never know.

Caroline is a very experienced runner and so much faster then me but she kept with me the whole way, because that’s what friends do. She said she really enjoyed not having the pressure of racing and just running for fun for a change.

At this point I could barely breathe so I had to just nod and smile. Despite not being able to breathe we still managed a sprint finish and have some amazing race day photos.

After the race we met up with Pete who finished his marathon before we’d finished our half, and also Wendy who’d come along to support us. We then watched Liz and Martin do their sprint finish, how they managed that is just amazing given they’d run a marathon in Leeds in scorching heat.

I have been running Leeds Half Marathon for more than 20 years and still have the 2004 t-shirt to prove it. This one was the best yet, better than any personal best.

What a wonderful weekend.

Louise Daddy