As the summer holidays come to an end, and the midweek season draws its conclusions, finally I get a fairly slow week to report on. Actually its been the hardest report I’ve done, through lack of imagination and constant distractions! But alas, whilst there’s not many races this week, we’ve not been lazy, and I can see a lot of marathon training, some significant recceing, which bodes well for some interesting reading in the coming weeks. There was also, it should be said, our very own Shelf Moor race!
Eyam Fell Race (Barrel Inn)
Rich “too cool for school” White was over in Eyam (apparently), but fortunately for me Nick “say cheese” Ham was also there to offer some insight. I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of “black death” puns used here Nick, but in the end, I do believe you have more than made up for it……
I’d studied the forecast avidly and expected a possible thunderstorm. However, apart from a spot of spittin’ on the journey to Eyam, we only enjoyed hot sultriness, aided by a smattering of sunshine. Sweatsville ahoy.
The car park was already almost full when I arrived with an hour to go to the 18:30 start. I wandered to the clubhouse to pick up my number (I had pre-registered) to discover that new organisation following the sad death of the previous organiser at the beginning of the year meant that we had to descend further to registration at the cafe. Same organisers as for the Eyam Half Marathon, they were test-running electronic chips read by mobile phone. Having to wear these ‘plastic watches’, I ended up with three adornments – heart rate monitor watch on left wrist to record my racing heart, GPS watch on right wrist to monitor my crawling pace, and said timing chip. The wrist-chip’s universal fit better suited those of butcher build, so I hoisted it with great difficulty to the other side of my vintage and bulky GPS watch to keep it in its place on water bottle side (water on the go essential on this night). That meant the camera for in-race snapping was in my left hand. There are 113 exposures that survived deletion, but I do have low standards with my equipment (less is more, more is less an’ all that).
I think this might be the first time I’ve been chipped to run an evening fell race. I noted the extra climb imposed upon us to descend to and climb back from registration. (“Bound to take the edge off”, I joked to myself, getting the excuses in early.) I also noted the stench of freshly ignited barbecue coals hanging heavily in the already heavy atmosphere around registration. There would be a post-race barbecue with hand-pulled pints from the Eyam Brewery. (“Join us for a pint and a sausage afterwards”, said the organiser standing on his beer barrel at the starting line. “Oo-er”, replied a runner next to me. “Fnaar fnaar” and “Oh matron!”, I thought to myself. I should have spoken it out loud; I might have raised a titter.) This last-chance evening fell race has never known anything like it. The last-chance balminess of the weather would be a perfect match for the ‘beer ‘n’ sausage’ in the fading light.
Even with all the pre-registrations, due to record-breaking numbers we were set off a little late on a circuit of the sports field before descending to the lane and beginning the arduous climb upwards to join the rough track to the next road and right turn to the first and longest stile queue. I heard another runner ask if we would be going back down the same way. “No”, came the reply. We will descend to the stile we’re waiting to cross but turn left in the opposite direction. “Oh, good”, came the reply. “That track is a bit technical for going back down.” Oh how little she knew. That track is a walk in the park. The steep, dingy, rock-and-root-infested narrow path through the woods we have to descend, part of which has almost disappeared down the steep slope to the stream, is infinitely more dangerous. The race organiser had warned us about it at the race briefing, saying that several people had been injured there in previous years. However, this year we would be in safe hands because there was a medic in attendance. He was a Gastroenterologist. If we injured ourselves we would get an enema to see us right again.
Once up on top, the route ascends and descends fields, tracks, lanes, past the Barrel Inn pub, more fields and open moor before descending more steeply back towards the sports field. However, we’re not home and dry yet; there’s another cheeky little climb to the right that takes us away from our destination walking, puffing and panting to a friendly and sympathetic marshal at the top, where we turn sharp left, finally to descend towards the finish. I managed to overtake a couple on that final descent to the line but still gained my 19th PW of the year (and counting: every result a PW). 1:05:33 was my first time over the hour and 6 minutes slower than last year, which was already a PW. I had thought I was the only GDH-er there but I learned afterwards that there was someone else. Even without knowing who, I knew it would mean getting bumped off from first to last. I couldn’t have it any other way, though. For me to be first in anything involving athleticism would be an affront to common decency.
I returned to my car and removed my vest to ‘slip into something a little more comfortable’ for the journey home via the pizza parlour. I couldn’t believe how heavy it was. It must have doubled in weight, soaked as it was in sweat. My shoes would have been the same but I was keeping those on. My heart continued to race and I continued to sweat long after the race had finished. There must be a reason for the string of PWs and my parlous state of health. I should see a doctor. In view of the 1-month lead-time for such luxuries I should have ‘thought on’, bypassed the system and gone straight to the Eyam medic for a right good rogering through the power of the enema. That should have put me back on the path to health and fitness.
Longshaw Sheepdog Trials
Part of the worlds oldest sheepdog trials (apparently), this looks like a really nice race route over Higger and Owler Tors with just over 5 miles and 1000 ft climb. Nick Ham and Andy Fox were on the scene and if I can fathom the results correctly, I think Andy came in 2nd V60. Well done both, and this one is on the hit list for next year.
John Hewitt Memorial Shelf Moor
Sunday morning saw our very own Shelf Moor take place, in what I can gather were rather mixed conditions. Emma Rettig was capably at the helm this year, where we had 116 runners, which I think is a record number, at least for a few years. I can see from the results some great performances and battles played out, with Alex McVey coming within 20 seconds of the overall win, and Matt Huxford not far behind. Caitlin Rice ran in Blue and Orange once again, bagging first lady and just managing to hold off James Knapper and Paul Skuse. Nuns on the run Tim Culshaw and Rich White were next home, followed by Mike Burton and Catherine Clearly.
This from Emma Rettig “A huge huge thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to make today’s race a success. I am so very very grateful and appreciate all your efforts. It couldn’t happen without you, you’re all awesome!
Hope everyone who raced had a good one and you’ve got the mud off…..
Currently rewarding myself with a cheeky beverage”.
I’ve seen a lot of great pictures trickling onto Facebook, so I’ve gone from none earlier, to almost more than I can handle. So I’m going for it and creating a gallery. Get me!
Here follows the “official” results from the GDH website, where I was tickled to note a little cheekiness by Tim Budd on data entry…..
|13||Matt “the Hux” Huxford||51.30|
|36||“Sister” Tim Culshaw||58.37|
|37||Rich “Mother Superior” White||58.38|
Quite a bit of Parkrun Toursim, but Parkrun Tourist of the week goes to Joe Gavin at Omagh. As always, lots of action at Glossop with PB’s for Michael Greenhalgh, Alan Tainsh and Wendy McMahon. Alison Holt, clearly hadn’t quite got her fill of parkrun laps last week, and also brought home a PB. Well done all!
The consolidated club report is here.
Cross Country – We’ve already had details of SELCC, but this week Chris Webb gave us the gen on MACCL. Check out his post, and the earlier one from of Kirsty Sharp on our FB page. Why not sign up for both, and rock up to any fixtures you can!
An opportunity came out of the woodwork this week for a running club to participate in a BBC promo for Children in Need. See Pete Wallroth‘s note on FB, but how cool will it be to see some blue and orange action on the telly box?!? Quite a few volunteered for this so fingers crossed. Once she’d collected herself at the thought of me on TV, the wife suggested I have a face more suited to radio. Charming!
Tuesday training remains as popular as ever in the safe hands of caretaker Coach Charmayne. Do get yourself out for these “tough love” sessions!
With under a week to go until 16 Harriers take on the 56 mile challenge (and gastronomical delights) of the Bullock Smithy, there’s been quite a lot of recceing going on as you would imagine. Its not quite as fun as dot watching, but there will be a live tracker, which tables us through the 14 checkpoints. I’ll try to post the link on FB nearer the time for anyone that may be
bored enough interested to see how this Champs counter plays out.
As always, please send any stories and pictures of your weekly shenanigans to firstname.lastname@example.org. We do love to hear all about it!