“That was awful,” said Joe Dart cheerfully, while warming down with his colleagues in Tudor Square after raising nearly £1,000 for the Stroke Association. “It just kept going up all the time, then it came down for a bit before it went up again.”
That’s the nature of running in Sheffield, said more experienced competitors in last weekend’s Sheffield 10K.
“We like hills,” said partially sighted runner Anthony O’Keefe, who regularly scales the route around the edge of Endcliffe Vale Road and Brocco Bank with his running guide, Peter Macqueen. “We’re used to running round here, and know if you go up a hill, you’re going to come back down again.”
The route was part of the attraction, said staff from Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All, organisers of the first Asda Foundation 10K to be run in Sheffield. “It’s good for people to do something challenging, to push themselves out of their comfort zone if they want people to dig deep for charity,” said Vicki Robinson from Run For All, who added that the support along the route (from the city centre to the edge of Endcliffe Park and back) had been fantastic.
More than 3,000 runners had taken part to support several local charities (including Roundabout, Sheffield Hospitals Charity, St Luke’s Hospice, Cavendish Cancer Care, The Children’s Hospital Charity and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal), and many had chosen their own charities to support too.
Like Anna Stones and Byron Simpson, who ran the 10K in Mr Potato Head costumes to raise money for their friend Callum Rawnsley, currently being treated at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for a spinal injury. “At present we’re hot potatoes,” said Anna, “but it’s been worth it as lots of people saw us and donated for Callum and the Children’s Hospital.”
Peter Delamere and Dominic Rice had also endured more than most, running in full Sheffield City Morris Men gear to promote the team’s activities, and incorporating several dancing sessions along the route. “It was really hard, because these bells are very heavy,” said Peter. “At one point we got overtaken by some blokes carrying a boat.”
Several elite runners spurned bells, boats and potato costumes to storm through in under 40 minutes (Danny Collinge was first man home at 32.38, with Pauline Munro following as first woman at 37.52) but most participants were there to enjoy the challenge and simply get round.
Jonny Cole from Cavendish Cancer Care said 35 people were running for the local charity which helps people living with cancer and their families, with another 20 helping among the teams of several hundred voluntary marshals. “It’s hilly, but people told me they loved the new route,” he said.
“People see a run like this as a personal challenge as they support an independent local charity. They see the challenges that cancer patients and their families face every day, and they’re willing to take on a run like this to raise funds to support them.”
Jenny Sellers from the Jane Tomlinson Appeal said: “People were really inspired by what Jane did, and that keeps encouraging people to run for the appeal.”
The Leeds athlete raised £1.85m for children’s and cancer charities by taking part in marathons, triathlon competitions, and a 4,200- mile cycle ride across the USA, before her death from cancer in 2007. Since then the Jane Tomlinson Appeal has raised close to a further £6 million. “People like events like this because running is an accessible sport, virtually everyone can do it.”
Back at the Tudor Square warm down, students Sam Xiang and Teresa Jiang looked fresher than most. “We’re excited to have finished our first 10K, but we’ve been training hard,” said Teresa. The hills make it challenging, but that’s what makes a Sheffield 10K really special.”
Next year’s Asda Foundation Sheffield 10K is on Sunday, September 24, and entries can be made now at: www.runforall.com/sheffield.