AW promotion: Top runners offer advice ahead of the big 10k event on Sunday October 24

The popular Leeds Abbey Dash 10k for Age UK returns soon with people of all abilities enjoying a fast city centre course while at the same time supporting Age UK – the UK’s leading charity for older people.

Olympians Eilish McColgan and Callum Hawkins are ambassadors of the event and they have some useful tips for entrants ahead of the race.

McColgan, who won the Leeds Abbey Dash in 2016 and 2017 and recently finished runner-up in the Great North Run, says: “Leeds Abbey Dash is always such a brilliant event. Bringing together some of the top athletes in the UK, alongside runners raising valuable funds for charities. There is always such a great buzz around the city!”

Her top five tips are:

1. Get there early. It’s always better to be there early on race day so that you can scout out the start line and of course the portaloos!

2. Warm up. It’s always important to get a good warm up in before you race. A small jog with some stretches is always key.

3. Keep hydrated. Make sure you’re hydrated and fuelled correctly the morning of your race! I always like to have a big bowl of porridge around three hours before I compete.

4. Pace your start. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away and set off fast but stick to your own game plan and run at your own pace!

5. Enjoy yourself! The most important part of it all. Enjoy!

READ MORE: Eilish McColgan wins Leeds Abbey Dash

Hawkins is a 2:08:14 marathon man but, such is the standard of the Abbey Dash, he has never quite managed to win it. However he has made the podium a couple of times, such as in 2014 when the event featured on the cover of AW.

1. Follow a training plan that is suitable for your ability, lifestyle and race goals. Fully commit to it, be consistent and don’t skimp on it, don’t “chase training” if you fall behind a bit, and don’t cram all your training into the last week.

2. Don’t do or try anything you haven’t done before on race day. Make sure you’ve “road tested” your race kit and race shoes before the big day.

3. Having a good breakfast on race day is key but make sure it’s something that fuels you for the big day and you’ve tried it before. Porridge is my go to race day breakfast.

4. Check the travel and weather forecast beforehand so you can get there in plenty of time and dress appropriately.

5. Be realistic in your race pace. Better to start off feeling comfortable and finish strong. You’ll enjoy your experience so much more.

Leeds Abbey Dash

On why he loves the Leeds Abbey Dash, Hawkins says: “It’s a race that holds special memories for me. Not only does it raise funds for a great cause, it’s also where I kickstarted my international road running career and helped me realise that’s where my talents lay.

“It’s friendly atmosphere mixed with a fast course and great competition adds up to a fantastic experience for everyone involved.”

This year the Leeds Abbey Dash will have a strong elite field, with a home international with England, Northern Ireland, Wales, North, South and Midlands teams as well as UK Armed forces and combined university select teams.

To enter the race or find out more, CLICK HERE