Turn Up The White Noise: Folksworth Fifteen 2024

Race Date: Sunday 21 January 2024

Inexplicably, Good for Age entries into this year’s London Marathon weren’t decided until 20th November 2023. Still plenty of time to prepare perhaps but a problem with this is that by then the favourite twenty milers are already full. But then, on the dark web (well Dave Beech actually) an entry for this event was procured. Not much further down the A1 than Stamford the 11am start avoided a 05:30am alarm call.

Folksworth itself is tiny with a population of only 879 (2021 census) so Yaxley Runners, ably assisted throughout the day by volunteers from other local clubs, provide parking with the 420 competitors ferried to and from the start by car. A tip is to get there early as the nearest parking is a only short warm up from the HQ and bag drop. This level of organisation continues with marshals and feed stations aplenty.

The two lap course itself is highly rural. There are three significant inclines on each lap so six hills altogether and certainly not the fast course that Dave had promised. Further perils were the sections from 3-5 and 10-13 miles heading south along an exposed ridge directly into the path of the advancing Storm Isha with winds gusting up to 40mph. An overriding memory of the race was the constant and tortuous howling of the wind in the ears and knowing what was coming the second time around was not a great feeling. For our efforts we all got a running vest when picking up our race number with a rather neat little bum bag, crunch bars and sweeties handed out at the finish line.

Top of the first hill. New glasses picked up on Friday need adjusting as they kept slipping down the nose and new racers got mucky on one of the more rural parts. (Yaxley Runners)

Now mid-January and for one reason or another no twenty miler in the log book, the plan was to do an extended warm up, run the first half at marathon pace and the second part a little quicker to get a negative split. Going through halfway in a dismal 61 minutes the game was already up with the strengthening wind putting paid to any plans of even maintaining pace and then a wobbly at eleven miles entailed a stop to take on water properly. The runner’s book of excuses offers some redemption but the decision to try to turn this into a twenty miler was misguided at best and topping out a 67 mile week with a race was just plain foolish. A further eleven miles seems a long way away at the moment.

First across the line was David Hudson (Wellingborough) 1:22:57 with Rachel Doherty (Higham) leading the women home in 1:37:22. Results never show the weather conditions Folksworth 15 2024 Results.

Posn Name Cat Time
186 Peter Brown M60 2:05:32

Lots of vegetables and 2×3 hills. (FetchEveryone)

Younger club members may wonder why we have an official record for such an odd distance? Historically the popular Holmfirth 15, which first took place in 1968 when the half marathon distance was rarely (ever?) run, had an International pedigree but this event last took place in 2018 and was by then a shadow of its former self. A search reveals only three fifteen mile road races are now to be found in the country, all two hours or more drive from Sheffield and only one of which seems to appear on Power of 10. It can be argued that this distance is no longer relevant and that it’s time to let it slip away.

With sub zero temperatures the previous week it was difficult to judge what kit to wear with some in just a vest and others togged up with hat, gloves and thermals. (Yaxley Runners)

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