In short: A pan-flat speeder's dream race In full: There are races in life that vary from running high in the stratosphere, where ice forms in your water bottle as you hurtle down breakneck hills, down to running over the plains, where the only rise in the horizon is the incessant bobbing of the smug person who just overtook you. Then there's the Wistow 10. Wistow, lying just north of Selby and close to York, is so pan-flat that you can see the curvature of the Earth on a clean day, and any hills spotted in the distance are clearly hallucinations brought upon a sleep-addled brain after counting pace for the last eight or so miles. But I digress. The Wistow 10 is the first of it's distance organised by local group the Selby Striders, making it a more accessible distance for budding runners than the previous half-marathon, shown by the 200-strong crowd who dragged themselves out of bed that Sunday morning.
At 11am prompt, the bleep of a hundred watches simultaneously being set began the competitors following the figure-of-eight loop out of Wistow, down through the Lordship towards Selby before curving back through the village, out the north and into Cawood before one last stretch through the fields and back to the start. As casually insinuated earlier, the entire race is smooth running, with the addition of the odd bridge leaving Wistow, and combined with the whole route being run on tarmacked roads, it's a touch painful on the knees, but the potential for a PB is second to none. The only thing that even began to impede progress was the odd headwind whipping over the exposed track, but this was transposed into a refreshing tailwind on the homeward leg, so all was forgiven. There is another problem with it being so flat however; You can see exactly where each and every runner is in front of you. Gone is the illusion that the lead man might be just around the next bend, you have to face facts and deal with the stark reality of it all. Pretty stark it is too, as Wistow isn't exactly known for it's sweeping vistas and panoramas. This is a moot point however, as it's rare that anyone has the concentration to spare to appreciate the aesthetic value of the landscape after about six or seven miles.
The support certainly sped on an already fast race however, provided by the chipper and cheerful marshalls. Drinks were also provided at a number of stops around the track, and although there were no goodie-bags to collect at the end, there were race t-shirts and complimentary leg massages instead, which were more than welcome (I for one prefer a good rubdown on my calves to yet another generic cereal bar and packet of raisins).
All in all, if Selby repeat everything they did right this time next year, I can see the Wistow 10 being a staple of PB chasers and the like for many years to come. Especially if we get our legs rubbed down again. Date of review: October 8, 2009
In short: A well organised 10.1 mile run In full: A small field (150 finishers) but would expect it to grow in the future. The race had a local feel to it and was well organised. The final "mile" certainly seemed a long one by both GPS and the time it took! Date of review: September 14, 2009
Very well organised at start and finish, large number of friendly, supportive marshalls, flat as a pancake, a free massage at the end and (considering it was ran through two small villages) very enthusiastically supported by the local people.
Only slight gripe is that the last mile seemed to measure long by most people's Garmins but that shouldn't detract from an excellent event.
Well done to Selby Striders and the supporters from Wistow & Cawood. Date of review: September 13, 2009