May 15, 2023

Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon Report 14 May 2023

Ian Watson reports:
Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain rugby league legend Rob Burrow MBE was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2019. Since then, Rob and his family have campaigned to raise awareness and funds to support other families living with MND. The Rob Burrows Leeds Marathon is part of that effort and has raised over a million pounds.
Leeds’ rich history includes great achievements in the fields of science, engineering, aviation, cinematography, cartography and sport. We can but hope that marathon organisation will soon be added to this list. The volunteers did their best, but were too few in number and had clearly not been well briefed and were let down by a lack of signage. This resulted in chaotic scenes inside the stadium and ultimately a slight delay to the start, but from then on everything went fairly smoothly.
Beginning at Headingley Cricket Ground, the marathon heads south east to Woodhouse, with fantastic local support all along the route, before doubling back and making its way north for the first of the two significant hills, skirting Leeds Beckett University on the way. A relatively flat section was followed by a lovely undulating route along country lanes to Arthington park via Headingly Golf Club.
Next was the trek west to Otley via Pool in the Wharf and the welcome sight of Harry Holmes, and it seemed most of Otley, cheering on. By this point most runners were already thinking about Otley Chevin, the ridge which overlooks Otley and the second (and last) big climb (and later described as horrendous by Dan).
Starting in Otley, the 120m/360ft ascent lasts about 6km/3.5m with the summit at the Dyneley Arms in Bramhope. As tempting as it was, the beer garden was overlooked and the runners instead enjoyed the mainly downhill final section back to Headingley.
MAC had 5 representatives, and it was nice to see an ex-MAC in Neil Crummack out on the course. First back was Ian Watson (65th, 3:01:03 (PB) running in 2nd claim vest), followed by Craig Allen (230th, 3:19:45 – sorry no photo), Megan Elliott and Greg Hopkinson (on pacing duty) both finishing in 3:36:34 (616th (59th F)/619th) and Dan Ashcroft (868th, 3:43:56) no doubt still feeling the effects of his recent Tissington Marathon efforts. There were 8366 finishers. Winners were Nathan Edmondson (Ilkely Harriers) in 2:29:14 and Eleanor Baker (Sheffield and Dearne) in 2:41:01.