Final race of the Grand Prix this Sunday

Leeds Abbey Dash

This year's Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash once again combines the final of the runbritain Grand Prix, England 10k championships and inter area race, with the added bonus of England and Scotland fielding quality teams.

With a field of over 100 elite athletes we see the cream of Britain's best 10k runners fighting out on what is undoubtedly the UK's fastest 10k road race. The Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash is in its 29th year and is one of the UK's best established races. Race director Alex Grant has worked well with the elite race coordinator Rob Cameron in put together an amazing field of athletes.


Whilst there are many 10K road races won in 30 minutes or less, the standard often tails off after the top dozen or so. The Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash produces fast times well down the field. Helped by a fast, flat course and superb organisation it is a race targeted by club runners chasing personal best times.


This year’s race incorporates a home countries international and an inter area competition. Last year’s winner Matty Hynes (handicap MINUS 4.9) is in the England team. It was in last year’s Abbey Dash that Hynes had a major breakthrough winning in a time of 29:23 in only his fourth year of running. Then a member of North York Moors, he now runs for Gateshead.


In the women’s race England could be pushed hard by Scotland who field Steph Twell (handicap MINUS 0.7) and Beth Potter (handicap MINUS 1.4). Wakefield’s Julie Briscoe (handicap 1.0) runs for a strong North team. With a personal best of 34:17 the Wakefield veteran should be among the leaders. Another strong local runner is Leeds City’s Claire Duck (handicap 1.2) who ran 34:53 in this race last year.


The Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash 10k will decide the final positions of the 2014 runbritain Grand Prix. The top ten male and female British Runners will win a share of £18,000 so every position counts in the final event in the Yorkshire city.


With 250 points awarded for the 1st British finisher, down to 1 point for the 250th British finisher, plus time bonus points, there are opportunities for both leader boards to be reshaped on the fast and flat course. Four of the best scores count towards the final total of points.


In the men’s competition, Scott Overall (handicap MINUS 5.4) has achieved an unassailable lead of 1398 points, so he cannot be caught at this stage. However, the other top ten places and the prize money are up for grabs. Nick Torry (handicap MINUS 4.5) and Paul Martelletti (handicap MINUS 5.0) currently occupy second and third positions but they could be under threat from John McDonnell (handicap MINUS 4.3) who sits in tenth currently with 810 points after just three races, so is likely to move into the top three if he runs in Leeds.


The women’s grand prix standings are even more open with many of the contenders only competing in three races to date. Emma Stepto (handicap MINUS 0.9) who recently set a marvellous marathon personal best in Frankfurt last month is currently at the top of the leader board with 987 points off four races but there will be others such as Rachel Felton (handicap 0.2) who will be fighting for a top three finish in the overall rankings.

Other entries for the men’s race include Callum Hawkins (handicap MINUS 5.3) who ran 63:06 at the Great Scottish Half Marathon in October, and Andrew Butchart (handicap MINUS 5.1) who has been in good form in the early cross country season. Neither have competed in the runbritain grand prix series this year so will not be included in the overall series standings.


Similarly, the women's race includes Jess Coulson (handicap MINUS 1.2) who will challenge for the top honours in Leeds but she hasn't competed in any of the other grand prix races so will not feature in the overall rankings.


This stacks up to be one the best Abbey Dash's ever and we could see around 30 men under 30 minutes


Now in its 29th year, the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash is popular with fun-runners, celebrities and elite athletes alike. The Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash is in its second year as one of six runbritain Grand Prix events and was the first charity event to ever be included due its fast, flat and professional course.


Participants who have signed up to the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash this year are raising funds for Age UK’s work that supports vulnerable older people across the country such as tackling loneliness and isolation. Some funds raised this year will also enable Age UK Leeds to provide services and programmes for older people in the city such as information and advice and help to get online.


The race starts at 9:30 from Wellington Street following the usual “out and back” route with the half way point at Kirkstall Abbey. The finish, in front of Leeds Town Hall makes an ideal viewing spot for spectators.


There is also a junior 2K run for 8 to 15 year olds starting at 9:10.


For more information about Age UK, visit


For advice on your pre competition preparation click on this article: "The big day has arrived".


Good luck on Sunday!