Temple Newsam Dash – August 2020 – Richard Bell

If you were wondering what a race looks like post-lockdown we got a taste of it on Saturday at the Grim Up North – Temple Newsam Dash. Fair play to this intrepid organisation for been so quick of the mark with a return to racing following up last weeks Canal Canter with a far more undulating affair. Distances were marathon, 20 mile, half marathon and 6.7 miles all consisting of laps of the same 6.7 mile course.

Priced at around £25 an upwards and limited by license to 200 runners the race was almost full which with such little notice demonstrates how keen may are to get back to racing.

How did it work? Well once you had entered on line you were presented two days before the race with a registration time, a be at the starting area time and a starting time. These slots ran in 5 minute intervals and each interval comprised you guessed it six runners.

Registration was outside and upon entering a taped-off-area runners were asked if they had had any symptoms etc and were then ticked off a list. You then move forward to another taped off bay whilst waiting for the person in front to told their race number and hence to collect their race number and goodie bag. Once summoned forward and ticked off another list you were told where to find your race number which was in a bag on the ground.   Once you your pre-race time was reached you were able to gather near the start line and were eventually called forward by your race number to take your starting position. The starting line featured cones two meters apart and each runner in the group of six stood by their cone. At the allotted time it was ready stead go and you were off, no chip timing but there was a large clock by the start line so that you could gauge your performance.

The course was very well marked with clear arrows a very good turn-out of marshals meant that it was impossible to go astray.

Did it feel like a proper race? Yes it certainly did although the groups were massively different abilities you were soon chasing people down and likewise been overtaken. With this race been multi-distance you were never sure if the person overtaking you was on their third or first lap but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment in any way.

I found the organisation excellent, the safety aspects first-rate and the all-important goodie bag consisted of a very professional looking medal a bar of chocolate and a can of beer, no scrimping.

At the end of the race there is no loitering allowed and given that it was multi distance people were finishing at different times in what I guess would be a four or five hour window so fair play for to the marshals who must have been out there most of the day.

It was fantastic to compete again and don the mighty orange-vest, shame I’d forgotten the anti-rub ointment as I chaffed in places that haven’t had that sort of mistreatment for years.

Wetherby did brilliantly with Ann Foster been first lady home in the half marathon in 1.52, I learnt that doing a half marathon with no long runs behind you since March is quite painful 2.06 for my troubles and Mark Foster and Valerie Bell both clocked 1.02 for the 6.7miles.

Next up in this series  is another Canal Adventure on 12th and also 13th September at Saltaire. Followed by the Roche Abbey Autumn Trail on the 27th September which looks very nice indeed. If you fancy any of these please let us know that you have entered via the Facebook page. Happy running.