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Running Leeds

Leeds’ First Magazine Dedicated to Running

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T r a i l

Of The The Three Mountain Challenge One Hour Outside Leeds!


The Best And Worst An Indespensable Guide!


We’ve Moved! t a g e r n i G en s! Op ffer O

38 Boar Lane Leeds LS15DA

Come down and see our fantastic new store



Our intrepid features editor tastes what country folk might call a run Pages 2-3

The Three Peaks

Leeds Gyms



The lowdown on Leeds’ best and worst places to excercise this winter

Meanwood Famous Valley with Leeds runners, a trail Trail from the city centre that’s 7 miles of countryside



eeds is a great place to live. Small enough to walk across in half an hour, and packed with vibrant bars, clubs and restaurants. It’s easy to enjoy the high life, it’s also easy to spot people running, cycling or traveling to and from the gym - according to a survey from the National Lottery, Leeds is the running capital of the U.K with 11 percent of the Leeds population regularly taking a run outdoors, compared with a national average of 8%. The magazine aims to find the best routes and cross country adventures to be had in and around the city. Many people will find a route, round a local park for example, and do nothing else, variety is the spice of life! This edition I ran the three peaks challenge in the Dales. I was amazed at the raw, uncluttered countryside such a short distance from the busy city. I was even more amazed to find the Meanwood Valley Trail less than half a mile from my doorstop! Nestled between the suburbs, it’s a vein of scenic riverside pathway, running seven miles out of Leeds. If done in reverse (heading back to the city) it’s slightly downhill, making it a fast and fun track. We’ve put in a map. There are several gyms in Leeds, and the quality and price varies tremendously. Although running is best done outdoors (in my opinion) the winter can drain the will to do so, and make a treadmill seem very attractive. Our review is an indispensable guide, and the favorite may be a surprise! All in all, we hope you enjoy this first edition, and happy running!

Jake Davies Editor

Collapsing onto bench after completing the Three Peaks Challenge



Peaks Challenge

Leave The City Behind


t’s sometimes hard to get a good lung full of fresh air in Leeds; pollution from cars, buses, factories. Over time you forget that a crisp breath of fresh air can pull your posture straight, widen your eyes and send blood pumping from the heart around the body. The Yorkshire Dales lie around an hours drive northwest of the city, and are home to a spectacular range of wild hills and cosy hamlets. Horton-in-Ribblesdale sits, nestled in a valley with a small river running through it. Picturesque, whitewashed pubs and quarry rock cottages line the one road that it inhabits. This is the generally accepted beginning of ‘The Three Peaks Challenge’. The idea is to begin at the village early in the morning, and walk a 25 mile circular route taking in three mountains along the way. The climb is around 1500 meters and in order to complete the challenge, the route be completed in less than 12 hours. I had walked, hobbled and stumbled around three times before, in low clouds, torrential rain even light snow. Although I had never taken longer than twelve hours, I felt that with some planning and support, I might just be able to break six. The record for the round was an astonishing 2:46:03, set by a seemingly superhuman man named Andy Peace in 1996. I began to calculate; to achieve that time Mr. Peace ran an average of 6.6 minutes for each mile; that gave me about 14 minutes, 13 if I wanted to safely arrive before my 6 hours was up. The hills and slopes had to be taken into account, average time inevitably drops on hills so has to be increased when on a downhill increment. I remembered the boggy, open marsh that inevitably left dry feet soaked and tried to use the long flat path that followed it to catch up. This was all you understand, in my head. The times that I had walked round with friends seemed easy going and enjoyable. My meticulous route planning now brought about a change in attitude; from viewing it as an amiable but undulating walk, to an obsessive objective, a test of my own physical endurance proof that a man about the city could cross country if it were ever required.

The logistics of the day were as meticulous as the route planning. I recruited my long suffering girlfriend in her Ford Fiesta to act as support vehicle. She would meet me three times during the run, this allowed me to travel light, hopefully faster across the ground. The meeting points, I had tried to place near pubs; I didn’t want to find her frozen to death in the car for nothing but my folly. We arrived on a cold November morning. I was grateful for the cloud cover; it makes the day warmer, but rain was always a threat. Carrying little in the way of gear I was at risk of being caught out exposed, although never more than 5 miles from the car. I hoped the foil blanket and whistle I did take would not be needed. So, leaving the village and a warm and comfortable pub and trekking up Pen-Y-Ghent, the first peak felt exhausting. Running was not an option; at times the track turns into a small cliff. One cliff, more like a miniature waterfall. The ascent is also full of false tops - the end appears to be in sight, until it is reached, and another great section looms overhead. Finally reaching the top, I entered the low cloud cover, leaving a soaking dew all over my clothes. The descent began. A winding track from the top of the peak opens into a wider, smoother path. As my speed picks up I suddenly realise that my pace is beyond my control. I bound down the mountain like a madman, walkers with poles and waterproofs look up at me flying towards them with shock and perhaps a little disgust. It isn’t long before I find myself facing the wide open bogs, devoid of marked pathway.

“You don’t want to be walking through those bogs without a stick lad” . The first time I had attempted the walk, an old hiker had passed this advice on to me in a pub. I had fully realised what he meant later on, waist deep in bog water. Not only were we unfamiliar with the sub aquatic environment, we were lost. Two more attempts passed before the landmarks and fastest route were familiar. Visibility was good so I squelched over the mire to join the Pennine Way, after 1hr 30 minutes, I was on schedule.

filling with concrete and stammering down the steep slopes as he bounces up with the agility of a mountain goat. The summit of the final mountain was at the opposite end of a great U-shaped valley, my descent felt pointless. I imagined a giant bridge between the summits, that might create a flat, fast track. No such luck. May ruin the scenery as well...

The Pennine Way runs over 250 miles through the centre of England. I would only run along 3 miles of it, before joining a long track from a remote farm to a main road. It was along this stretch I hoped to really improve upon my time; support was waiting by the Ribblehead Viaduct and the sooner I got there, the sooner I could eat. The track flew by.

At the final meeting point, after finishing the remaining food I picked up a rucksack. Waterproofs, a torch, emergency food. The shorter days left little breathing space if for any reason I was delayed. A previous trip over Ingleborough had seen a friend and I stumbling down in the rain and dark, him with an injured ankle and me with an illegible, muddy map. I was eager not to repeat this.

I arrived, exhausted at the viaduct, hitting the ten mile point, pleased with my time of 2hrs 20 minutes, I wolfed down ham sandwiches, drank vile coloured energy drinks and began running along the spectacular viaduct towards the second mountain, Whernside. The climb up Whernside grows continually steeper. It begins steep; a huge curving ascending path ends at a long ridge which is traversed to the summit. The clouds had lifted, but they kept the light from illuminating the valleys below. The summit, a circular stone shelter appears. A passing acknowledgement is all that it is given -no time to pause- and the track begins to slope, like a roller coaster tipping over a drop into the next valley. As the track continually steepened; I passed a middle aged man dancing up the hill at almost the speed I descend. A glance between ‘mountain men’ made me feel inadequate; my legs are

The final undulating climb up Ingleborough culminates with a short, steep rocky scramble, the light was fading as I hit the summit with elation. Unfortunately the final five mile descent loomed in front. With thoughts of warmth and comfort I flew down, collapsing into the car less than an hour after tapping the summit stone of the final mountain. My finish time, an obsessive part of my preparation had been forgotten. I finished in around 6 and a half hours. My elation was bittersweet; although a little disappointed at finishing outside my target time, I was already planning the next trip, how to train to be faster, places I could shave off minutes and seconds. As I planned to enter mountain races and orienteering challenges in the next season. The city man had conquered the mountains.

Get toThe Gym!


ts wild out there! Leeds is

old and windy with only


ight hours of daytime


uring the worst of the winter months! Pure Gym Cost £16.99 Contract:None Joining Fee: £25 Cheap, simple excercise next to the corn exchange

The Gym

Virgin Active

Cost: £15.99 p/m Contract: None Joining Fee: £20 Cheap and cheerfull! City centre location

Cost: £35 p/m Contract: 6 months Joining Fee: £20 Expensive, and similar to the previous two

‘The John Charles Centre For Sport’ Cost: £35 p/m Contract: 1month minimum Joining Fee: None

Editors Choice!

This includes access to the 17 sports centres in Leeds, as well as the cities only 50m pool.

Meanwood Valley

Golden Acre Park

T r a i l

Vital Statistics Beginning: Golden Acre Park, Otley Road End: At the Henry Rowland statue near Woodhouse Moor Distance: Around 7 miles (10k)

Henry Rowland Statue

Take either one of the 780, 784 or X84 buses from stops between Morrisons in the Merrion Centre or Headingley, the fare is three pounds. Ask the driver to stop at the ‘Golden Acre Park. Better to finish in Leeds unless someone is kind enough to pick you up in the car!

In The Next Issue A Torchlit Woodland Run With The Kirkstall Harriers


Do-It-Yourself Physiotherapy: - The Wobbleboard - The StretchStick - Foam Rollers

How Swimming and Cycling Can Improve Your Running

Leeds Running  

Leeds' First magazine all about running

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