Leeds Abbey Dash 2011: Record numbers run through city fog VIDEO

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Record-breaking runners braved a misty morning to pound the pavements of Leeds in the Abbey Dash.

All 8,000 places in the 10km race had been snapped up prior to the event, which took runners from the city centre out to Kirkstall Abbey and back.

Runners, including a giant monkey, cross the finishing line at the Abbey Dash.

Runners, including a giant monkey, cross the finishing line at the Abbey Dash.

The notoriously fast and virtually flat course saw many participants strive to beat their personal best times.

For the first time, speedy youngsters also got in on the act with 125 taking part in a 2km sprint.

It is hoped their efforts will help raise over £200,000 for Age UK – breaking the record set last year.

Tom Galliano, events fundraiser at Age UK, said: “It’s been incredible to see 8,000 people of all ages and running abilities come together to help support older people and we were delighted to see the sports stars of the future setting the pace in our first ever junior race. Every single runner who took part in the event has helped Age UK to continue to fund local services for people in later life across the Leeds area, as well as supporting national projects.”

Leeds-born glamour girl Nell McAndrew got pulses racing before the start as she led a mass warm-up in Victoria Gardens.

The 38-year-old told the YEP she’d lost count of the number of times she’d done the Abbey Dash, which she finished this time in just over 38 minutes.

“It’s great to bring everybody together,” she said. “The event has been going for 27 years and for anything to be around that long is pretty good going.”

Leeds’s own Olympian Tracey Morris put the runners under starter’s orders as she returned to the race which led her to fame after she met running coach Bud Baldaro at the 2003 event.

Mr Baldaro commentated on yesterday’s race, which saw a close battle for the top spot. Jonathan Taylor sneaked ahead of fellow Morpeth Harriers member Nick McCormick on the line and was first with a time of 29:20.

The 24-year-old from Middlesbrough said: “It was really close and I got a personal best. It’s a great event and one of the best 10ks in the country.”

The first woman back, for the second year running, was Leeds City AC member Susan Partridge in 33:48.

Another participant was completing a marathon week as Margaret Ehrenberg set off from her home in Birmingham last Monday and ran to Leeds in time for the race. The 57-year-old former member of Abbey Runners completed the mammoth feat in memory of Colin Morath, founder of the Abbey Dash, who died earlier this year from a brain tumour. She was raising cash for Leeds-based Brain Tumour Research and Support and the city’s St Gemma’s Hospice.

And among the family teams taking part were 41-year-old Nicola Schofield and her 63-year-old father Phil Bailey from Pudsey.

* Results are available via: www.ageuk.org.uk