I COULD get quite used to this running on drugs malarky. Not that I would ever condone drugs use, but, since sustaining those couple of cracked ribs earlier this month and dosing myself up with painkillers before races, I've not looked back!

For race 72 of the 80, I headed to Yorkshire for the Leeds Abbey Dash. My ribs have been feeling not too bad of late. I had physio on Saturday and while lying down on the couch the pressure on my ribs was painful. Sneezing is an absolute killer, but day to day I only notice the nagging pain occasionally.

So I've been taking Voltarol before the race, and did so again for Leeds. And the tablets - I naughtily took two instead of one - got me through with ease. I didn't feel a thing.

It meant a 4am departure from the south coast to tear up the M1 for a 9.30am start - incredibly and annoyingly earlier. It was cold and overcast when I parked up and then I had problems sorting out my car because the boot wouldn't shut properly. I had to make-do with a shoelace so that I got to the start point outside the Town Hall in time.

It was a big race. There were about 6,000 runners, mainly from the north, but with the event also taking in an inter-region contest, there were some fliers in the field. The race was won in a time of 29 minutes.

I got a flier myself as the race headed out of Leeds city centre and on roads to Kirkstall Abbey. Usually the race takes in the grounds of the abbey, but this year we ran up to a roundabout and turned back towards the city. It wasn't the prettiest of runs, but I didn't care, I was flying. I couldn't believe how quick I was moving. I've not been able to train in between races, so my fitness is only what I'm getting from the runs themselves. I was through half way in 21 minutes, and felt comfortable pushing on the pace.

Amazingly, it was fine. I kept my breathing comfortable, trying to relax as much as possible while letting my legs do the running. Towards the end I tied up a little, but was delighted with the time of 42min 34sec, which is just under two minutes outside my personal best.

The Leeds Abbey Dash is built for personal bests. An out and back course with an incline heading towards the Abbey, but which gives it back on the return. Now with a bit of training and speed in my legs, who knows how fast I can go?!

I was pleased with the run, delighted to have got another race under my belt, and the only downside was going back to the car and having to wait 75 minutes for a repairman to come out from Blackburn to fix my boot!