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Coffee House Corner

You would be forgiven for thinking that the newly crowned Road Race League champion laced up his running shoes from birth and ran quickly. That is far from the truth, or at least it was at first. I wanted to know more and I hope you do too.

A date was agreed and I'm just home from spending an hour in the company of Mr Jordan Howe, it would have been longer but the coffee shop was closing and turfed us out.

Back in 2011 a young lad was taking driving lessons and his instructor was forever talking about this running lark. Half marathons one week, 10K's the next. All sounded a long way to a 17 year old Jordan but the talk of running continued and eventually he thought he would have a go himself.

Surely the chap who is now churning out sub 32 min 10K's like they are going out of fashion had some sort of sporting pedigree to shout about. A bit of football and rugby at school, nothing more. No proper kit and an old world casio watch on his wrist, he set off from Strensall and headed in the direction of Sheriff Hutton. My first thought was not many pavements in that part of the world.

After what felt like miles he'd done an out and back and got home again. No Garmin to tell him the distance so he measured it on Google and found out he'd clocked about 2 miles. Got to start somewhere.

It seems the seed had been sown though and he'd found something he liked. The mileage built gradually from that first 2 miler but it was always on his own and it was mostly at the crack of dawn.

Fast forward to October 2014 and the 2nd Yorkshire Marathon had a certain Jordan Howe on the entry list. Is it funny that this was his first ever race? He went through halfway in 1.16.02. In his first ever race. This is either incredible or sickening for the rest of us. How many Posties have PB's inside 1.16? Not me that's for sure. It didn't all go to plan and maybe his lack of experience told in the end. Inside the top 10 at 20 miles but then (like many of us) his wheels fell off going into Holtby and they started streaming past. A chance at a 2.40 ish finish became a 3.00.21. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't exactly sympathising when he told me this story. There's still not many Posties gone sub 3 for a marathon, let alone their first one but it was an early sign of better things to come.

October 2015 and the Howe name was on the entry list again for another tilt at sub 3. A knee injury flared up though and he registered a DNF, something that partially explains his focus on 5K, 10K and 10 milers.

It wasn't until 2016 when Jordan found himself on the parkrun start line, event number 200 at the Mire. I quickly pulled it up on my phone and laughed out loud when I saw he clocked 16.25 and finished 2nd. Scroll a bit further down and you find me in 19.45.

It wasn't all plain sailing though. By 2018 we had a new parkrun on the scene in Heslington that was much closer to home and it was whilst jogging there one morning that he fainted and woke up on the roadside. In typical runner fashion he came round more concerned that he would miss the parkrun start as opposed to worrying about the blood running down his leg. And the fact he had just fainted. Thankfully the good old parkrun volunteers recognised the issue and he never did start that parkrun but got a free ride in an ambulance to York Hospital.

Many tests later and the cause seems to be down to him being 'too fit' and his low resting heart rate. Jordan now comes fully fitted with a heart monitor and assures me it never crosses his mind whilst running. Despite the challenges, he stuck at it although the PB's took a back seat for a year or two.

The Road Race League was first mentioned to him by some local club runners at parkrun. I couldn't possibly mention which club they were from but it wasn't Postal. It seems that the Lynn family were doing a pretty good job beating the drum for Postal, and why wouldn't they. It's the best place to be.

I remember his membership form coming through on my email. It was like a Premier League football club making a big new signing. I was straight onto the Whatsapp group spreading the news.

As a result of lockdown, this year was his first tilt at the Road Race League. Prior to this season his PB was 32.27 after a 4th place finish at the Doncaster 10K last year. Heading into this year he knew he was going to be competitive but is very clear when he confirms that he absolutely focusses on his own race and certainly doesn't expect to win. His plan for the Summer was to run the first three races and then have a break. After those first three races it is fair to say he'd performed rather well indeed, winning all of them and claiming new PB's at all of them.

With wins at Pock, Taddy and Easingwold in the bag he went for number 4 at the Mire and chalked up a further win and another new PB at 31.29. Telling though was the fact that it was the tightest finish of the series so far as he finished a mere 5 seconds in front of James Tucker from City of York. Go back and read my report from the time and you'll see evidence of some real talent from the writer! I predicted that Tucker was a fan of a flat course and would be back for more in Wistow. That turned out to be rather accurate!

It's refreshing to note that Jordan remains very humble throughout his recollection of the season and it was clear at Wistow that his second place finish had left him very disappointed but above all he is still enjoying himself, partaking in his hobby.

So what's next on the agenda? One thing that was clear was the impact all the 10K's have had him on. Running those sort of times certainly takes its toll and recovery time is important so the next big race isn't until the Yorkshire 10 miler in October when he defends his title. There's also an ambition to duck below 15mins for 5K but it's clear that it isn't the main thing in his running life.

We finished our conversation talking about advice for other Posties. Just enjoy it, running shouldn't feel like a chore were the key messages. I smiled at the notion that pain should be constructive. As long as it's working towards a plan then pain should be constructive! The one final message was how much Jordan loves being part of Team Postal. The training, the camaraderie, the support. Just as well really as we love the fact that he's part of Team Postal.

I hope you've enjoyed finding out a bit more about our champ. I've come away grateful for the conversation and pleased to find we have a fantastically fast but fantastically humble runner in our midst.

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