May 12, 2024

Leeds Marathon

Leeds Leeds Leeds Marathon

On Sunday 12 May, the second Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon and Half Marathon took place. The race starts outside the Headingley Stadium, which is the Race HQ, where Rob played his entire rugby league career for the Leeds Rhinos.

In 2024, there had certainly been some changes from the previous year, following what must have been a massive lessons learnt exercise. Facilities were all much improved and the baggage areas much easier to access, so this year the race got away on time.

The course heads down towards Leeds through the Hyde Park and Woodhouse suburbs before turning at Leeds University just before the inner ring road and then heading up back past the stadium for a good few miles until the ten-mile point. Then it’s a couple of miles downhill to a short out and back section in the small village of Arthington before levelling off towards and through Otley.

During this section of the race, runners can admire the hillside on the left of the course. Then, once through Otley it’s time for a four-mile gradual, seemingly never-ending climb up said hillside in order to get a great view of where you have come from. Despite the forecast, there were only a few sunny intervals and whilst it was still fairly warm, the lovely people of Leeds were out in force providing refreshments and the occasional soaking form a hosepipe was welcomed.

After this point, it’s a case of trying to keep your legs going for the descent back to Headingley for a stadium finish. The only slight problem is that the 2:30-3:00 hour half marathon runners merge with the marathon with about 4-5 miles remaining, which means a lot of weaving in and out and a number of breaks in stride.

After the race, exiting the stadium was fittingly a scrum. But with a decent goodie bag including crisps, Mars Bar, Erdinger Alkoholfrei, milkshake, sweets and a gel, it didn’t matter. The park and ride worked a treat from Stourton.

For Matlock Athletic Club, Dan Ashcroft completed the race in 3:44:31 and believes that it would make a good UK city marathon with an added club social, as both serious and fun runners will be accommodated!