Otley couple put up brave performance in French classic

Otley’s Ben Cousens, Renee Saxton, Matt John, and Matt Podd

Otley’s Ben Cousens, Renee Saxton, Matt John, and Matt Podd

First published in Other Sport

The sunny shores of southern France have seen Otley AC member Peter McGouran run for a Great Britain team in a transplant 10km race.

Peter, who had a kidney transplant several years ago, was invited to take part in the “race within a race” which saw 36 other transplant runners competing with around 7000 others athletes in the Prom Classic.

Peter, whose wife Ursula also ran the race, said: “After the howling gales and rain of the previous week in Yorkshire, we were not prepared for glorious sunshine and a balmy 17C.

“The race was fantastic, out and back along the Promenade des Anglais, with the Art Deco hotels on one side and the Mediterranean on the other.”

Peter finished in 58:24, while Ursula came home in 52:29. The race was won in 28:47 by French long-distance runner Abdellatif Meftah.

In the club’s first handicap of the year, a 4.25 mile event around Harewood, 25 members took part with Howard Jeffrey romping home in first place in 41:35.

Tom Potter was second (42:24) and Ian Fisher third (42:32), with his net time of 23:32 ensuring he set a new course record.

Meanwhile four runners took advantage of the frosty condition to run the Six Dales Trail from Middleham, in Wensleydale, to Otley.

Renee Saxton, Matt Podd, Ben Cousen and Matt John took eight hours and 45 minutes to complete the 38 mile route after being dropped off in Middleham.

Matt Podd said: “We were blessed with a fantastic day, frosty underfoot, dry and no wind; the best day of the year so far.

“Freezing cold though and deciding what clothing to take on this unsupported run was tricky.

“Food also was a challenge but between us we laid on a fabulous spread, not just gels and flapjack, but Christmas cake and dried mango were highlights.

“It seemed to take a long time to drive to Middleham from Otley, and we were all a bit apprehensive as to how to get home.

“Even though it’s supposed to be a 38-mile walk we ended up recording nearly 40, with around 5,000 foot of ascent.

He added: “Most of the navigation was fairly easy and well signposted but there was a very trick bit across trackless moor to get across to Nidderdale, and some of the cross-field stuff was confusing.

“However due to good visibility we only made a couple of minor errors, even though we were following the guide book.”

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