Sunday’s (5 November) Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash witnessed a new female course record holder in Eilish McColgan, with the Scottish runner breaking the previous best time, set in 1990, by Jill Boltz. The Dash produced a number of outstanding performances across the board including from Sam Stabler, who took more than a minute off his PB to secure first in 29:13.
The race, which raises funds for Age UK, Britain's largest charity for older people, saw close to 9,000 competitors take to the streets of Leeds to tackle a speedy course that moves from Town Hall and passes some of the city's most important historical buildings, including Kirkstall Abbey, before returning to Yorkshire TV studios on the way to the finish line.
McColgan, who has enjoyed an incredibly successful 2017 to date having set a Scottish women’s 5,000m record in Brussels in September, defended her title in convincing fashion to take first in 32:05 – 10 seconds quicker than the longstanding female course record. Emma Mitchell took second in 32:51, a time that means she is now the Northern Irish 10K record holder, while Ashley Gibson took third in 33:30.
In the men’s field, as has been the fashion over many years, a host of runners – 15 in total – all dipped beneath 30 minutes. At the front was Sam Stabler, who, on the back of his victory at last month’s Cross Challenge meet in Cardiff, was celebrating once more after securing first and a sizable PB. Following behind Stabler came Paul Pollock (29:20), who was a fraction ahead of Ben Connor, while Andrew Heyes (29:22) and Matthew Leach (29:25) made for an impressive finishing quintet.
As ever, the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash attracted runners from across the UK to contest in what is regarded as one of the top 10k events on the circuit. Many took part dressed as their favourite superheroes – a fine selection of these images are available on Age UK’s website—with thousands competing to raise invaluable funds for the charity. This year’s Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash aims to raise more than £275,000 for Age UK’s work supporting vulnerable older people across the country, including for services that help tackle loneliness.
Lydia Curran, Head of Events at Age UK, said: “This year’s Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash has been brilliant! We’d like to thank the thousands of runners who took part, as well as our volunteers and the crowds of supporters who cheered everyone on.”
"The Dash raises vital funds for Age UK’s work in tackling loneliness amongst older people. It’s heart-breaking to know that so many older people feel they have no one to turn to, especially at this time of year so we’re hugely grateful for everyone’s support.”