The Abbey Dash – 17th November

Abbey Dash

There’s a great chance to keep fit, take part in an event where you’re bound to meet lots of interesting people, and also raise money for Age UK.  Now in its 29th year, the Abbey Dash is going to be on Sunday 17th November, and registration is open. Go to for info. Older people are encouraged to enter, “we are very age positive” , they say.

All proceeds from the Dash will help older people around the UK. In Leeds, Age UK run a befriending service reaching out to older people, and also the Arch Café, “the café with a social conscience“, which is a nice homely place to get a cup of tea in the middle of town, tucked into the corner of Dortmund Square, next to the St. John’s Centre and Sainsbury’s.


The Dash will be even bigger this year, hopefully going up to 12,000 participants. This is partly because it’s earned “Grand Prix status”, which worried me at first – the mixture of high performance formula one racing cars and elderly runners didn’t seem like a good idea at all. But apparently it doesn’t mean that. The organisers say:

This fantastic 10k is flat, fast and perfect for beginners and elites alike. It raises over £250,000 for older people in Leeds and around the UK. You never know when your parents or grandparents or even you yourself will need assistance from a charity like Age UK so by doing your little bit, just by entering the race, you are raising money to ensure that this great work can continue.”

 The Dash starts on Wellington Street, on 17 November at 9.30 a.m. and costs £20 (£18 UKA) to enter. You can win two FREE tickets courtesy of Age UK – click on this link to find out how. The draw runs from 9 September to 11 October 2013. Entries will be drawn at random on 11 October 2013. It’s totally optional to fundraise on top of the entry fee, but for every £5 raised Age UK can pay for the admin costs of one volunteer befriender visit.

The first Abbey Dash was run on December 14th 1984. Originally the brainchild of Abbey Runner Richard Witt, the first race had a field of 618. There’s an interesting history of the Abbey Dash written by Peter Scaife which tells the story of the places you pass en route – for instance did you know that Buffalo Bill stayed at the Cardigan Arms on Kirkstall Road in 1904 while appearing in his Wild West show on Cardigan Fields? (Having spent a wild evening in the Cardigan Arms on the night England were knocked out of a world cup, this seemed very fitting.)

Finally a quote from Aly Dixon, Brighton Marathon Winner:

“The Abbey Dash is one of my favourite races of the year. I have run it five times now and recorded a PB every time I’ve taken part”