On the Trail with Run Leeds

Ben Fraser

Smack bang in last week’s bout of glorious sun, several of the Run Leeds Endure24 team made a trip north of the city. A band of 8 motley runners, our goal is to collectively run repeated 8k laps in a 24 hour period – a challenge for both new and existing runners in the team.


Supported by our captain Neil ‘Quads of Fury’ Jones we are halfway through an 8 week training plan that is simple but also measured to the task in hand. We will be running trails, and we will be running at night. Elements that I both consider myself a novice in.


Parking up in the layby of Wyke Lane we crossed the A61 and entered through the gate of the Harewood grounds. Coming from a suburban part of Leeds I always get excited when I’m greeted by a topography of rolling green. The kind of layered landscape that rises and falls like waves. We were in Gods own country and on the set of Emmerdale Farm!   


Up and down we went over the first field before the trail entered a dense woodland that wound its way over the Eccup Beck. The run was surpassing all expectations – the running senses were tingling. In and amongst the chatter of the three of us (5 were seriously missing out!). Birds were chirruping to one another. Wafts of wild garlic passed your nose. And the sun broke through the canopy and danced a path of broken light ahead. It was safe to say… I was enjoying this run!


Running out of the woodland and towards Fish Pond we hit a stony farm track. At this point (with the beauty of hindsight) the route became a bit more precarious and challenging. As place and time perfectly collided a lovely little French Bulldog excitedly skipped past the three of us. I took my eyesight off the path ahead to observe the little fella. It was the inaudible mashup of shrieks and swearwords as I rolled my ankle into a stone divot that caught the attention of Neil, Ellie and the dog.  


The team support network immediately kicked in as Jonesy handed me the walking sticks he was testing out for his 100 mile NYM event – I’d done one and a half! Happy that I hadn’t caused any serious damage I turned 180 degrees and began my hobble back to the car, swollen ankle in tow. With plenty of time to think, I reflected on the biggie that I’d taken for granted – give the trail respect and don’t take your eyes off the ground in front of you.


While I rest up and recover over the next week I’ve dug out the second part of the Essential Guide to Running. Bedtime reading will consist of John Turners ‘Guide to Trail Running’. I’m going refresh my knowledge and reacquaint myself with the basics ready for Endure24 on the 1st July


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