Normally, I reckon I’m fairly dependable, but I couldn’t help feeling guilty recently when I ducked out of the ABG’s time trial for the ‘softer option’ of an off road run with another group. Currently running flat out on tarmacadam hurts my left hip and I know that if I set off on a ‘time trial’ the very words ‘time trial’ will mean I’ll (try to) go at it hammer and tongs. This would mean injuring myself knowingly and I’m pretty sure that’s not big or clever.

I did try to justify my decision to myself by reasoning that the other groups are there for runners to vary their training experience and requirements as required and as they improve and there’s no rule that says ‘if you are in group A you can’t have a run out with group B or test your mettle on a longer runner run with group C or forsake your usual group to do some specialist training of the type that Garth is currently offering’. Actually, it’s quite the opposite and it is taken as a given that movement between groups will happen and should be encouraged provided that the runner moving up is not biting off more than they can chew.

I also reasoned that doing some slightly higher mileage, off road, would be a good way for me to prepare for the several Discovery Runs that we do in summer. These are on Tuesday nights and are opportunities to have a run in some of the areas we might not usually reach from Horsforth on a regular training night and are a good way of seeing new bits of Leeds and beyond where you might not have run before. It’s an excellent way of mingling with other folk who you wouldn’t normally run with too and you get to make an acquaintance with other runners in the club. These runs require a bit of careful preparation and reccie-ing, so it’s a good thing to support these runs as somebody, plus other group leaders who will check their route out so they don’t get lost (in an ideal world), will have usually put in a fair bit of effort on your behalf in preparation. And usually and handily, that preparation will involve a pub at the end! (I very much enjoyed the first run at Meanwood, for which we should thank Tim Knighton for sorting out routes and in my case, Helen Fagg for ably leading our group – attendance in the pub afterwards was a bit sparse though! Sounds like the next one will be from Otley Chevin – keep your eyes on your Inbox. And bring some money for the pub, especially if we are using their car park!).

My internal argument also suggested that running with another group to up my mileage (albeit not significantly in the final analysis) would be of assistance if I was to take part – God willing and a following wind –  in the upcoming Yorkshire Vets Grand Prix race at Kirkstall which is on a Tuesday night. Now my racing days are fairly thin on the ground these days, but I’m not sure I could turn up at the club in the knowledge that the vast majority of my chums were just down the road racing their socks off in their blue and white while I was trying to pretend nothing was different even though the clubhouse was, in comparison with other nights, deserted. So I fully intend to lumber round all the Tuesday night Vets races (and any others that I fancy or that I’m in any sort of shape to run). It may be that I will only manage a few meagre points for our tally, but they may ultimately prove the difference in securing a Horsforth victory in the ‘all to count’ category.

If you are over thirty five years old (you have to be 35 years old minimum to run a Yorkshire Veterans race but if you are thirty three and above and fancy seeing what the fuss is about or showing the old folks how it’s done, you can enter as a non-scoring runner) you’ll be able to see an old guy, fending off the attentions of, or worse, pursuing, those much older, sauntering in against the gathering gloom and in the desperate hope that they’ve not totally dismantled the finishing channel before I get there, go online at and get yourself registered, ideally a good week or so before the event, and I’ll see you there…eventually, if it’s at the end. But there are points on offer and I’m having them!

Of course, I still felt guilty at going awol from the ABG’s time trial despite all the cast iron logic that Mr. Spock himself would have been proud of. I kept telling myself that running is, by its very nature, a selfish sport. However, the voice in my head was louder and it insisted – “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’!

The Fat Bloke

The Lone Harrier attempting to reach the bar at Burley RUFC before last orders. Post race cake and buns long gone by this point