Preston 10

17th November 2013
by Nicola Brown

Nicola Brown takes on the Preston 10

Nicola Brown on for a new 10 mile PB
(Photo from Steve Bateson Photography) 

Preston 10, Leeds Abbey Dash or the West Yorkshire Cross Country League?  Quite a busy day on the racing circuit on Sunday 17th November but for me it had to be the Preston 10 - the penultimate race in the 2013 Road Racing Championships.  It was still a last minute decision to run but having entered on-line with relative ease the week before for £11.50, I decided to give it a go.
Despite a foggy drive on the M62 I arrived in plenty of time.  More than ample parking was provided at the Lancashire Police Headquarters, Hutton, Preston.  Directions were easy to follow from the town centre and the race HQ at Hutton Grammar School were less than a five minute start from the parking facilities.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Yvette Arthur on the way to collect my number and was annoyed with myself that I hadn't made more of an effort to find out who else was racing.  (I'm always better with a co-pilot).
Having looked at the results from last year I was expecting a turnout from clubs we don't often meet.  On arrival I saw some Darwen Dashers, Knowsley Harriers, Wigan Phoenix and Preston Harriers to name a few.  Previous results also suggested the field would be strong.  
The race HQ at Hutton Grammar School provided adequate facilities.  There were plenty of volunteers handing out numbers so no queuing and a couple of food and drink stands.  There was also a well stocked stall with sports gear.  Any non-runners could be kept busy while waiting.  
The race start was located on a side road between the school and Police HQ.  Warming up at the start I saw 'Lucy Verrill' who was actually Jacqui Khoueiry having a steady Sunday morning run out.  Again a last minute decision.  Lucy had decided not to run due to injury.  The familiar friendly face of Jane Stirling also made it just in time to the start line.
The course is a two lap relatively flat road course mainly through villages with quite a long stretch on one of the main 'A' roads out of the town.  There was an abundance of marshalls and no danger of taking a wrong turn.
The weather conditions were perfect - clear, dry and not too cold.  For anyone thinking of doing the race next year the course is not particularly scenic but flatter than any other 10 mile race I have done.  Perhaps that helped in me in finishing in 1hr 12min 07 (a PB of several minutes).  Holmfirth's best performance of the day was by Jacqui Khoueiry who was 6th lady to finish and 2nd female over 40 in a time of 1hr 7min 58.  (The 1st female 40 was Joanne Nelson from Darwen Dashers who was also the actual ladies race winner in a speedy time of 1hr 2min 44).     
Yvette Arthur ran a strong race and finished in a time of 1hr 17min 20.  Jane Stirling romped home in a solid time of 1hr 38min 24 completing the quartet of Holmfirth finishers. 
464 runners finished the race so the event is not what I would call small.  Definitely worth a trip out next year.  The race was not chipped timed.  Well organised and being a two lap course, any supporters can cheer you on at least twice. 
The Road Championships have motivated me to try different races this year.  The last race is on Sunday 15th December in Denby Dale.  It is 6 miles and right on our doorstep.  It would be great to see a few Harriers there.

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