Its the “Lets have a COVID Christmas” bi-weekly report!

Have 5 days of feasting and frivolity! It’d be inhuman not too! Actually, change of plan – make that one day, change your plans, buy a turkey for 2 and don’t go anywhere!

Whatever you ended up doing, whoever you saw, whether you put your whole foot in, your whole foot out, whether you shook it all about, and however much you ate and drank we hope you had a good un! One thing is for sure, bet there were a whole lot fewer arguments this year 😉

A bit like a Christmas parkrun, the GDH weekly report inbox was pretty bare….except for the chocolate reindeer.  Thanks to Coach J for sending in his update:

“Tradition has it that the last Coached Session of the year, just before Christmas, is the REINDEER Challenge. It is a “competitive” event whereby every runner has exactly the same chance of winning. It does not matter if you are super, speedy fast, or a somewhat more sedate runner. And not even Covid-19 could throw a spanner in the works of this traditional year-end event.

To ensure that social distancing could be maintained, this year’s challenge was an individual event, or for pairs from the same household. All were asked to guess the time it would take to run 1 loop on the running track (=1400m) Everyone had the chance to try as many times as they wanted/could manage within half an hour. And, without cheating or looking at their watches, whoever got closest would win the prestigious price: first pick of chocolate Reindeers, Golden Bears, Santa or tree decorations.

It is not an understatement that this year saw the closest results in the (~10-year) history of the event. After many years of trying, Alison Hot finally grabbed the first place, together with Kate Bowden, running a socially distanced 2 metres behind, but both on the same time. They were a mere 2 seconds slower than predicted. Impressive pacing! With only 3 seconds off his estimated time, was Paul Peters. He was slightly faster than he had anticipated. The last place on the podium was nabbed by David Christie-lowe who went 4 seconds under his estimated time. 

This left our defending champions, David and Holly Munday into fourth place, 5 seconds off the pace. This would have easily been good enough for first place last year as they won in 2019 with a difference of 7 seconds between estimated and actual time. Still, she did not go home empty-handed.

Harry Hawkins, back from Sheffield was the only one who made it to 4 attempts but each and every one quicker than he thought he was capable of. His best, 13 seconds faster. Joe Gavin should have had more faith in his own pacing ability instead of staying close to David. This meant he was too quick on all his attempts with a best effort 14 seconds of the pace. Finally, Emma Peters was still only 15 seconds of her predicted pace after she “over-corrected her first attempt of 22 seconds too quick. Still, this result would have easily seen her finish in the Top 3 in any other year. Just not in 2020.”

Litton Christmas Cracker virtual race

As has been the norm for racing in 2020, some race organisers have put on virtual offerings of their popular races. One such race is the Litton Christmas Cracker fell race which is usually a sell out race taking place at the start of December. Well known for its post race mince pies and mulled wine, and the christmas tree that is put on top of the trig point which is one of the checkpoints near the end of the race! It’s around 7.5 miles with approx 360m ascent. I’m not one for fell races usually without knowing what’s instore, so this virtual offering seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl! The organisers are using an app called MaprunF which (in theory) works at the click of a button when you head off from the route start and beeps when you hit the various checkpoints. Pete W, Pete T, Rob S, Greg and I planned to do this on 23rd Dec come rain or shine! Fancy dress was encouraged, so as you can imagine, “some” of us donned their finest festive running get- up (whilst the rest of us dressed for the elements 😉 ).

An absolute cracker of a route – wasn’t what you’d call a classic fell race – but had a bit of everything including the obligatory wading through the flooded river, mud, wind and hail at the trig point. Race results show some fast times in normal years, we however were not in any huge hurry, having far too much fun and taking loads of photos so by the time we got back to the cars, frozen cold, we’d been out for nearly 1h50! We had to bring our own mince pies, and in the absence of any mulled wine (and the fact we were all driving!), the closest we could get was Pete’s peppermint tea from the village shop! Can definitely recommend this as a route, and a virtual  race – so if you fancy giving it a go and helping raise some £ for the local charities they usually support, you can find all the details on the FB group Litton Christmas Cracker fell race 2020. 

Petes face giving nothing away….the hail the wind, the cold….!! Lets not hang about at this trig!

That’s a (leftover turkey) wrap

So, we have 4 days left of possibly the weirdest year we’ll ever (hopefully!) live through – that means 4 days more to get in some more miles, more hills, roads, parks, fells, bogs, snow (fingers crossed!) and burn some more calories so you can finish the rest of the mince pies and port before getting started on the supermarket yellow sticker offerings (just me?).

Am sure we are ALL looking forward to a return to normality and some proper races in 2021, so nows probably a good time to stick on a film, get online, and have a ponder at what races/challenges/adventures you can do in 2021 (assuming the race diary isn’t already choca from the rearranged 2020 ones!!!). In the meantime though, stay safe and keeeeeeeeeeeep running! (sorry, been Strictly-fied).

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