How long have you been a Horsforth Harrier?

I joined in June 1985, just three months after the club started so I have been a member of Horsforth Harriers for over 34 years, making some great friends along the way.

Which training group/s do you normally run with?

At the moment I am just plodding around parkrun due to long-term illness.

Enjoying a Christmas parkrun at Woodhouse Moor

What are your running goals for the year ahead?

Goals are a far distant memory now. Apart from parkrun, I normally only run Eccup 10.

Steve O’Hara at Eccup 10 – photo by Peter Khoo

What is the PB that you are most proud of?

I am proud of all my PBs but the one that stands out is my marathon in 1988 when I ran a time of 3:05:02 on the old Leeds Marathon course. The course followed a route along Meanwood Road, Stonegate Road, Alwoodley Lane, Bramhope, Otley Road, along Old Otley Road to the Water Tower and on to Scotland Lane before heading back to Leeds Centre and finishing in front of the Town Hall. My PBs are:

Abbey Dash 10K 38:35
Tadcaster 10 Mile 64:12
Otley Half Marathon 1:25:53
Hull 20 Mile 2:18:23
Leeds Marathon 3:05:02

I never ran a 5K back in the day but once whilst running at Roundhay Park I clocked 18:20 for 5K. None of these races were chip timed.

What was your first race?

In January 1982, I started to run, just around the block for ten minutes or so. My New Year’s Resolution was to stop smoking too. Two months later I was running the Horsforth Marathon in a time of 4 hours 11 minutes. This marked the start of my running career. There had been a gap of some 15 years since I had done any serious running at school.

Steve O’Hara (pictured right) at Horsforth Marathon 1982

What’s your favourite race and why?

The Tadcaster 10 Mile was probably my favourite race. Besides doing a PB here, the course was gently undulating and always good weather even in early May. I made a lot of friends there too.

What is your most memorable experience as a Horsforth Harrier?

This has to be my run at Leeds Marathon in 1988. My target that day was 3 hours 15 minutes but coming down Low Lane I knew I was well in front of this time. At Kirkstall lights, I got an awful stitch. To counteract this I squeezed my stomach hard with my hand. There was no way I was going to stop and I didn’t, finishing in 3:05:02.

Finishing Leeds Marathon in 1988

I run therefore I am …

… living proof that this running lark works for mental health.

Mental health is at last an issue that is being addressed. Being a manic depressive/bipolar person I have found great solace in running and on a personal note benefited from this. I spent many years without any help so running was my therapy and saviour. Subsequently for the last 22 years I have been taking medication as well but the running has continued to be so important to me.

Pictured at Honley Vets in 2015