This weekend saw the kicking off the club champs in style (but with no stiles), a raiding party over the border into deepest, darkest and foggiest Stockport. I’ll come to that in a minute, but what else happened this weekend?
Well, after consulting the Oracle (otherwise known as Facebook) and having another Cup of Tea, (yes, that needs capitalising), I notice that there was a brand new parkrun over in Hyde. Yes, the Hyde parkrun – not to be confused with Hyde Park parkrun- had it’s inaugaural running on Saturday. As seems to be the vogue, a mass of runners descended upon the new location to lay down best times and PRs and all kinds of stuff – and unsurprisingly, everyone that ran in Hyde this week got a Personal Course Record. Well done to you all.
On Wednesday evening, the City Slickers (Tim Culshaw and Alice Willson) were out Lamp-post bothering in Offerton. The MDOC street Night Orienteering event was a bit of a challenge, what with Tim attempting to take bearings while leaning against a metal lamppost, Alice consistently getting distracted by welcoming looking drinking establishments, and both of them improbably running as a 3 legged race team. (some, or all of those may or may not necessarily be true). However, despite their valiant attempts to handicap themselves with alcohol and fake bearings, they gained 1060 points, a rather marvellous 130% above par for the course. 8th overall and 10th in the handicap standings. (provisionally).
So onto the main course – Hit the Trail over in Stockport, put on by the Belle Vue Racers.
The first in the club Road and Trail Championships was well attended with about 26 of us getting to the far flung outreaches of Reddish Vale. The course was a mixture of tarmac, trail, grass, mud, puddle and outright large animal drinking hole, which meant that every choice of shoe was right for approximately 20% of the time, but wrong for the remainder of the race.
It was pretty warm, as January races go, so the vast majority of GDH opted for vests and shorts, and not a lot else. There were titanic battles going on throughout the field, Laurie Barlow and Malc Brown had a proper ding-dong, slogging it out through the mud, with Malc, I believe proving the stronger at pulling himself out of the puddles. Lynne Taylor and Jayne Moreton ended the race mud splattered and with nothing but a few seconds separating them. The 2 Rachels (Higginbottom and Walton) and Lindsay Palmer were locked in a 3 way struggle through the entire course, with Lins just pipping them at the post, her Fell running experience showing through on that final “hill”.
Special mention should be made of Steven Rea who not only lasted the distance to clinch a place ahead of Clive Smith and John Stephenson, but he also got a 5k PB only hours earlier at … um… Wilmslow? maybe? Anyhow, damned fine effort sir. Nick Ham, despite cycling to the race was a comfortable 140th, but ahead of him was a brutal 2 way fight to the death with Steve “Dr” Pepper and Andy “Mc” Burnett exchanging blows for the entire 7.5km course, with Steve coming out the victor. Ian Oates was happy to have beaten the first V70 male and female runners by placing 92nd with Guy Riddell getting his Ultra legs going in the final kilometre. He was later heard to be muttering something about needing to warm up with a jog over from Glossop. Possibly via Sheffield.
There was a last hill tussle between Matt Crompton and the venerable David Chrystie-Lowe, with David beating the young pretender to the top and claiming 63rd.
At the head of the Ladies race, Kirsty Johnson was 3rd, coming in mud splattered but looking in fine form in 32nd- amazing considering she was over at the XC trials the day before and, a little birdie tells me – she came 4th there. I wish I had more information about this- I think it was a Derbyshire trials and Kirsty got a place on the Team, but I don’t have confirmation of that. Flipping well done to her if that’s the case though. (Lynne won’t like being called a “little birdie”, but by the time I’ve published this I plan to be in a pub where she can’t read it til later). Caity Rice was a little faster, 2nd place, hitting 30:54 and together with the other 2 who I have so far neglected to mention- the every-lovely Jo Brack in 180th and the Speedy Becky Smith in 133rd took the Ladies Team Prize. Becky also claimed another bottle of wine for being first in her age category as well.
Splitting the 2 ladies like a Thorn between 2 Roses was Paul Skuse who attempted to run away with the Carl Bedson suicide sprint championships in the first 50 yards of the race. He finished his race with a magnificent uphill burst of speed and power to come in 24th. If only he had that speed and power for the rest of the race rather than the first and last 200m. Imagine the placings he could achieve! A fine effort from the Skusinator who may or may not have needed a helly baselayer to ensure his warmth on a warm January morning.
Just ahead of Caity, (by a mere 3 seconds, and in 14th) no doubt pulling her along in his wake was Dan Oldham, his new streamlined appearance almost certainly contributing to his speed. Just ahead was that Wily Fox (minus the red hair and white tip to his tail), Steve Crossman, first V50 in 8th. Ben Tetler was flying ahead of him, but was not aware that Rob Walster was the runner ahead of him in 4th. That could have been a proper battle of wits and sinew. In third overall was Tim Budd, and those 4 in 3rd,4th,5th and 8th claimed the Mens team prize.
It’s always amazing to have such a huge attendance to races, but flipping heck, it plays havoc with my fingers on the keyboard and imagination as to what could have gone on in the race.
The most important race of all was also won by the Glossopdale team, being the first club to be en masse at the bar. In fact, there weren’t really any other teams there for at least 10 mins after us. Jolly good effort all round, I’d say.
Right then. Epic. And that was only a short “road” race. I hope in equal parts that future races will be as well attended as it’s a great time socially, but also that they aren’t as my computer won’t take the battering.
As it is, here is the parkrun consolidated report. If you wish to read through it, dissect it and write down who got PBs where and by how much, I’ll be happy to put it on here, but I really don’t have time, I’m afraid. Well done to everyone who ran in the parkruns though.
As a final note, the first in the Fell Champs is coming up, its Mickleden Straddle, it’s just over the hill from here and its on the 5th Feb. However, it is pre-entry ONLY and you’ll need to remember how to write a cheque, find and envelope, apply a stamp and then find one of them post-box things. At the moment I think its just Me and Dr Pepper who have entered, and you don’t want to let him get points THAT easily, surely?
Oh – and the AGM is coming up at the end of this month. Watch this space for time/date. It will be in The George opposite the Station. I promise to keep my speech to a mere 43.5 minutes and will reduce it by a minute for every pint I am promised by members. (not to be drunk on he night though).
And as a final-final point, in champs races, can you please make every effort to wear a club vest? I don’t want to get into the whole “vest police” thing, but going stealth isn’t particularly cool. Interest in racing and battling is going to come all through the standings in the race, and seeing a Blue and Orange vest go past you, or be in front of you might be enough to make you want to race that little bit harder. So if you don’t have a vest, please get one, and if you have a vest that isn’t yours, please give it back to the person you borrowed it off as they might not have one to wear and get your own as it makes the whole thing a bit more complicated than it needs to be.
Right. I’m off to get some food and make sure Lynne doesn’t have signal so she doesn’t see the “little birdie” comment too soon.