Posts Tagged ‘york’

Yorkshire 10 Mile

Monday, October 9th, 2017 | Sport

Early October means the Yorkshire Marathon Festival. It’s a “festival” because not only is there the Yorkshire Marathon but they also run a 10-mile race alongside it. It’s set on the streets of York which makes for a flat course.


The route starts out on the university campus. It runs into town, going around the minster and then leads out into the countryside. At five miles the marathon and 10-mile split before joining back together later on.

There is only one hill in the whole of York and it is at the start and finish straight. This is the worst design ever: at the start, you go down the hill, when you’re fresh and bottlenecked in so you can’t take advantage of it. On the way back you’re exhausted and have to up the thing.

It takes in a lot of lovely scenery. However, the sections through the centre of York are often cobbled, uneven and cramped, so you have to spend your whole time watching where you are going. Once you get out into the country you can relax a little more.


The event was well organised. They had several transport routes including a park and run option and a city shuttle bus. I decided to get an Airbnb in the centre and then get the shuttle bus over. I didn’t turn up until 9:30 am and still managed to get to the start by the time the race kicked off: 10:15 am.

Here is me on the bus:

As soon as I finished there was a bus to take me back, too. There were some queues for another bus, which I think was the park and run. That did not open until noon, which is after some of the 10 milers finish, so that could explain it.

There were plenty of toilets and separate urinals. There were not many pacers, but those that were there had the big flags that Run For All always put on.

The only confusing thing was the event village. You get off the bus and then it is quite a walk to the start and finish line. Not only does this add a lot of walking but it is quite confusing to find. On the way there I followed everyone else. However, on the way back I had to find my own way and got confused several times.

Goody bag

I’m going to have to give them a D for goody pack quality. It had three chocolate-type bars in there. But two of them had peanut in: not much use for anyone with an allergy, or merely a strong dislike of peanuts. And the shoestring sweets where impossible to tear into.

York as a city

York is a beautiful city as most of us know. However, accessible it is not. Anyone with a pram (like us), wheelchair or simply limited mobility is in for a rough time. It’s not just that the buildings are inaccessible and the streets are cobbled. It’s that the pavements are often small, broken and badly maintained. This makes it very difficult to get around if you are not a fit and healthy adult.


I haven’t been doing much long distance stuff since the Leeds Half Marathon 2017 and have been ill for the last couple of weeks so I set myself some fairly relaxed target of 1:36:00. My stretch target was 1:30:00 as this would indicate whether I would be able to go sub-2 hours in the next half marathon (of course, Leeds is a lot less flat).

In the end, I felt pretty good on the day and brought it home in 1:27:30, two and a half minutes ahead of my stretch target.


Here is me at the end:

I waited around for the first marathon runner to finish. I thought they would finish before me: 90 minutes running plus 45 minutes head start means they only needed to run a 2:15:00 to beat me back. As it happens, the first runner didn’t make it back until 2:24 something. Far faster than I could ever run it, but a good 22 minutes behind the world record. He was also white, which suggests that serious marathon runners don’t come to York.

Speaking of unusually white people, here is Venla with my medal:

My new trainers have been causing a few blisters on my longer runs (anything above 10k) so I was quite pleased that I finally put enough vaseline on my toes to keep them healthy.


This was a fun event and good test for me to see how running a race away from home worked out (everything in Leeds starts next to my house). I am looking forward to going back to the festival next year.

It’s a good race to do if you want to avoid hills and see some nice scenary, as long as you’re willing to brave the transport challenges.

York Skeptics

Sunday, September 15th, 2013 | Photos

Last month, I finally found time to head up to the very excellent York Skeptics. It was good to see a lot of friendly faces and an interesting talk on autism.

While there, I took the opportunity to take some photos and polarise the flip out of them.

IMG_0420 IMG_0422 IMG_0425 IMG_0426 IMG_0437 IMG_0438

York EbOrators

Monday, June 24th, 2013 | Public Speaking

To ensure the Leeds clubs are the best clubs they can be, I’m trying to get round some of the other local Toastmasters clubs to see what ideas we can take from them. The first club on my list was York EbOrators.

They’re a small club, similar to White Rose, though they do seem to have a slightly more established membership – they had most of the roles filled, with a few duplicates and interesting, omitted the sergeant at arms role entirely.

There were a number of differences that got me thinking – they have CC and CL achievement boards in the room, and they also include grammarian and ah counter in the evaluation voting. Definitely worth the visit, if only to truly appreciate the high standards that Leeds City has achieved.

Mixed grill, in a burger

Friday, August 3rd, 2012 | Events, Photos

It’s been a while since I last stopped by York Brights, so I decided it was high time to turn up to a meeting. It was a somewhat intimate affair, with only six of us there (usually there are loads of people these days), but the conversation was never the less it’s usual excellent standard. We also noticed an item on the menu we hadn’t seen before.

The mega mixed grill burger as it is known is just that – a mixed grill in a burger. They start off with a huge burger, was at least half a pound, if not more – I just don’t really know how much a pound is but it was definitely at least as big as two McQuarters. They then put a fried egg, a gammon steak, a chicken fillet, a pineapple ring and a sausage, wrap it all in the world’s largest bread bun and surround it with chips. Amazing.

Mega mixed grill burger

Wedding reception

Monday, December 26th, 2011 | Life, Travel

Earlier this month, I was invited to a wedding reception over in York. Due to the medication I’m on, I can’t drink, so I figured the most convenient thing to do was drive over. I didn’t want to arrive dead on 7:30 in case nobody else turned up at that time, so I decided to set off at 7:15, allowing 45 minutes to drive there, get parked and find the venue, thereby arriving a fashionable 30 minutes after the start time.

So I set off at 7:15 and got as far as the roundabout by the big Tesco when I ran into road works which had closed off the A64 entirely, so I followed a badly sign posted diversion route which took me up to Weatherby Road.

They seemed to disappear at this point so I kept driving as far as village which I believe was called Cottingham, at which point my sat nav finally provided me a route which was something other than make a U-turn and head back to the A64.

This involved joining the A1, and heading back down the motorway towards Leeds until I got back to the A1/A64 junction. By now I was massively behind schedule but I thought hey ho, at least I’m now on a dual carriageway all the way to York.

So I carried on down the A64, and suddenly saw a bunch of cars with their hazard lights on ahead of me. Next thing I know both lanes have come to a standstill and I can see some flashing emergency lights up ahead of me.

Apparently someone had been run over.

After being sat there for a while with an increasing feeling that I was going to be trapped on the A64 all night, the traffic eventually started to move again as a police officer started directing cars to take it in turns to make a U-turn and drive the wrong way down an on-ramp to the A64 which lead us into a village that was either near, or was, Weatherby.

By this point I had been on the road for almost two hours and didn’t really know what roads there were into York without the A64, so I just gave it up as a bad job and gave up. That meant that not only had I missed my friend’s wedding reception, but I was also now forced to buy dinner from McDonald’s because I had missed out on the buffet. Is there some kind of compensation fund I can claim that back from?

Mixed grill

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 | Life

A few weeks ago, myself and Elina headed up to York for the York Brights monthly meetup.

It was much nicer than last time as we weren’t in the middle of a torrential downpour, so I could actually see the road in front of me. The meetup itself is held at a pub called Ye Olde Starre Inn, which those in York will no doubt be familiar with.

Having missed my mixed grill the day before (all you can eat steak is subtly different), I decided to go for the mixed grill. While it was very enjoyable it was certainly a little unconventional – it was basically a mixed grill, crossed with an all day breakfast with egg and beans. Crazy, buy never the less enjoyable.

Damn this fine weather

Thursday, July 28th, 2011 | Friends, Life

Last week, I took Elina to meet my friends at York Brights. It was a rather strange evening as when I walked in I found them sitting in a whole different corner to the usual one, due to the amount of people at the pub. For creatures of habit, like myself, this simply isn’t cool and I spent a good twenty minutes repeating over and over again “this isn’t where we sit…” ;).

There were also lower numbers than usually turn out, perhaps due to so many people taking holidays at this time of year – which also contributed to a slightly lower than expected turn out to Skeptics this month.

Never the less it was a great night all the same, and we tried the food for the first time which turned out to be average.

On the way back, the heavens opened to what I think was the heaviest rainfall I have ever driven through, possibly even heavier than the torrential downpour I went through on my way to appear on Ummah Channel. We’re talking so heavy that I was driving significantly below the speed limit! Nothing wrong with rain, when you’re inside though ;).

York Brights talk magic

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Distractions, Life, Thoughts

Last week I headed down to York Brights for their monthly meeting. It was the second time I had been to the city in a month, having visited North Yorkshire Humanists two weeks prior.

The topic of much of this week’s discussion was Derren Brown. Derren has done amazing things for reviving the art of magic, but it always a divided opinion in the skeptics community because although he says it is all magic, he then goes on to pretend a lot of what he is doing is real.

Take the example, when he correctly predicted the lottery numbers. Of course, he didn’t, it was a simple camera trick. But be started the show by saying “this is all magic” and then took you on an hour long journey about the wisdom of crowds, which is of course nonsense. I spoke about this at Skeptics in the Pub in 2009.

One of the group members, Michael, went on to explain just how much of Derren’s material relies on this. Take for example his TV show Trick of Treat, although he claims to use no actors, they almost certainly did, partly because some have been identified as actors but also because you just can’t morally do a lot of that stuff to unsuspecting members of the public.

You could argue of course that that is part of the show though. When we watch fiction or magic, we suspend our disbelief for the purposes of entertainment (deep down, we all know there probably isn’t a man traveling around space and time in a vehicle disguised as a blue police box but it’s fun to pretend for those 45 minutes), and maybe it’s just part of that.

North Yorkshire Humanists

Thursday, May 19th, 2011 | Humanism

I headed up to York last week to the North Yorkshire Humanist Group’s meeting as they had a talk on the role of faith based representatives in nursing. The talk was interesting and proved some great debate afterward. It’s interesting to see the variance of opinions on the subject, though most humanists seem overall in favour of the idea of humanist chaplaincy.

After the meeting we headed to a local pub which got a very impressive attendance – probably over 50% of people who went to the meeting joined us at the pub, a retention rate which I’m sure West Yorkshire would love to emulate.

Return to York Brights

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 | Life

On Wednesday, after a long absence due to my attendance at Perspective Citywide, I headed over to York for the monthly meet up of York Brights.

Despite organisers’ Ewan and Gill being on holiday, the conversation was lively and engaging and ended up continuing long into the night – well, until gone 11pm, which is quite late when you get to my age and still have to drive back to Leeds that evening 😉 .