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Leeds 10k Race Review

Here is my first race review. These reviews will look at all aspects of the race, the pros and the cons. Leeds is a place that has seen me achieve some of my best times. Back in 2014 it was the scene of my fastest 10k time of the year at the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash. The following year at the ASDA Foundation Leeds 10k it was my first ever sub 37 10k time.  I only entered 10 days prior but my number still came in the post, if I had entered earlier I would have gotten my name…

Review ratings

Cost
Route/ PB Potential
Support
Medal & Other Goodies
Logistics

Overall

A good summer 10k, not cheap but the route appeals to PB chasers but also to newbies and those looking to experience a big city race.

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Here is my first race review. These reviews will look at all aspects of the race, the pros and the cons.

Leeds is a place that has seen me achieve some of my best times. Back in 2014 it was the scene of my fastest 10k time of the year at the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash. The following year at the ASDA Foundation Leeds 10k it was my first ever sub 37 10k time.  I only entered 10 days prior but my number still came in the post, if I had entered earlier I would have gotten my name on my bib which is a nice touch.

The aim for this race was to post a season best as I try and re-discover my form. The race is the flagship 10k race for the Run for All team that has seen it’s portfolio of races grow over recent years. Yet it still remains the fastest. This is the sort of race you go to chase times, or if you want that big city vibe from a race. Now it does not give out elite entries and they class anyone running around 36 or quicker as quicker and the pen at the front of the race is the smallest of the lot.

Getting there for me is now simple as we come in via the M1 and park on Whitehall road, for £4 all day it’s great and a fab location, as it’s a 5 minute walk from there to the finish area. Plus you avoid all traffic getting out of the city afterwards.  The race starts and finishes in different areas, in terms of route it’s very similar to the Abbey Dash, but a faster start and less climbing up towards Kirkstall Abbey.

The start is spread over both lanes and usually the right side is taken up by corporate runners and local celebs, the fast runners all stand together on the right.  One thing would be good is to see some toilets near the elite start as you have to get in pen rather early or you’ve got no chance when everyone else gets into their pens behind.

The race is aimed more at those doing their local big city race and running for local charities. You get the happy clappy warm up, this always amuses me as the club runners have all done a proper warm up, aka a few miles and drills/strides. So when the local fitness instructor starts doing their warm up, the entire front of the race just stand and glare. After so many years you’d think they would set up the warm up stage further back for those who take part.

It was a warm morning, and the pen was in direct sunlight, after watching the wheelchair race set off, it was a long count down and the race was off. The local support is fantastic for the first mile, as you race down and loop under the train station before turning left and heading out of the city. The crowd support start to dwindle at this point. The route hits Kirkstall road and this is where compared to the Abbey Dash the field really thins out. You do a short detour round the back of a petrol station before continuing the drag up to the turning point. It’s not scenic and can be a mental drain as you just see the route go on and on into the distance. As you build up towards the turning point, the crowds once again build up which is good.  Before then you pass the first water station with people on both sides of the road. making it easier to grab a bottled drink.

The route climbs up to 3.5 miles before dropping down on the turn round point before heading back towards the city centre. This is where you see the 1000s of runners coming the other way and it’s great to get cheered by people you know via social media etc. However, as it was on such a wide road there was no shade and it was baking in the Sunday sunshine. There was another water station, a sponge station and if you wished you could run through a shower. The organisers had done a great job of making sure people had enough water. The last few km of the race drag as you go round a roundabout and then the sting up and round towards the finish line then as you run up hill to the city hall the crowds are back as you cross the line. With the announcer trying his best to mention as many runners as possible. You are then herded round to the left, first collecting a few drinks, then a goodie bag with a tech t-shirt and then finally your medal.

The medal is a decent one as one would expect from the Run for all team. The tech top is black but the amount of text on it means it ain’t good to run in as it gets heavy with sweat and can cause chaffing. The goodie bag in my view is pointless, a few bars such as a chocolate bar and other stuff that just gets binned, such as flyers. At £28 it’s not a cheap race and I try and limit the amount of races I do at this price. You are paying mainly for the road closures and a good route to chase a PB on but not one for the scenery, although if you are racing then you are not there to enjoy the sights.

Pros

  • Fast, PB potential route
  • Good aid stations
  • Good medal, with addition of a tech top
  • Chip timed
  • Full road closures.
  • Appeals to both club runners and new runners
  • Good support at start, finish and halfway

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some will find the coarse a drag
  • Lack of support when you need it at around 2 and 8 miles
  • Time of year means it can be too hot
  • The fact they insist on using Marathon Photos as official photographers, who rip off runners with their costs.

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