Well, it’s properly snowed this week, with many us hitting the hills for fun and frolics in the white stuff, whilst others chose slip and slide around Glossopdales freezing streets.
I thought I’d got off fairly lightly this week, and the kettle wouldn’t even be boiled by the time you finished reading. However I’m learning quickly, that you guys find yourselves all over the place, doing all kinds of races I never heard of. And we just love to hear about it. When I started this, the only race with Harriers participating that I knew about was the fell champs race, Mickledon Straddle. But I was really quite wrong, so without further ado, lets find out what happened…..
Well, let’s not peak too early, and instead the AGM is worth a mention, where our lovely committee serenaded us with tails of what they’ve been up to this past year. Comprehensive minutes will follow for those that were washing their hair, and I will not attempt to summarise it. However, a couple of things to mention, with Tim Budd standing down as mens team captain after several years, Matt Crompton has kindly agreed to take on this important role. Nice one Matt! Part of the role involves selecting the teams for the Fell relays, and as I want to do them this year, I’ll clean your fell shoes anytime Matt*.
*other favours will be considered, but there are a few caveats, which we can discuss when I buy you dinner.
In other news the committee seeks a willing and able RO to shadow Sikobe at Herod Farm, with a view to taking on this rewarding task from 2020. Please, please can you all consider this role, in what is a fantastic and very popular race in our calendar. Aside this, a few beers were swilled but not a chair was thrown, which was most disappointing for some of us, having been promised by Dan Stinton last week.
Kicking this off, we had Lins Palmer over in Wadsworth Saturday, to take on the 20 mile Trog. The route takes in over 3,600ft of climb, and Lins bashed round the course in 4.39. By all accounts conditions were good, and a well worn snow path made the Nav pretty easy! Well done Lins!
Pateley Pie n Pint Marathon
Cant say I know much about this race, except it centres around the lovely Pateley Bridge, is 26.2 miles long, and finishers get a pie and a pint. The format seems to be multiple distance races, from 5 miles to 32 miles, making loops of 5 miles each. It aint flat, so this is no PB course! Unsurprisingly, our resident Marathon Master Marie Williamson was in attendance, finishing 2nd lady, in an impressive time of around 4.49.
The irrepressible Nick Ham, was at it again, and I note he has finally took that new mate along, Strava! Welcome to the club Nick and a cracking start to your Strava stats with this one! And for the following….
I’d been looking forward to this milestone – my 20th consecutive Rombald’s Stride. This is one of the few races in the racing calendar that never fell victim to the Foot & Mouth Disease countryside closure, so I’ve enjoyed a straight run through (pun intended) from 2000.
With the odd exceptional frozen, sunny, snowy year, conditions are usually a bit dire, meaning wet / foggy / windy / cold, and BOGGY. This year fell into the rare category. ‘Sun’s out, legs out!’ A recent dusting of snow ensured whiteness from the start, but once up onto the moors (Baildon Moor, Ilkley Moor and Rombald’s Moor), proper powder and frozen bogs made for perfect running conditions in the winter sunshine.
After checkpoint 7 (Whetstone Gate @ 9.8 miles) we are forced to take the right-hand side of the wall where the bog monsters live and the unwary will get a dunking. This year they were frozen and snow-covered so we got a clear – though hard and knobbly – run through. At this point and onto Rombald’s Moor, the snow was at its deepest. There was a nice new section of duckboards to traverse the bouncy bog (which would have been bouncy even then).
The path descending from Rombald’s Moor was a bit slippery after many runners had been through. The runner in front slipped and fell. I carefully steered around that bit then fell even worse. I ended up sliding down the path in kneeling position. I just let it happen and enjoyed the ride until the first dip that brought me to a halt. A bit of ‘scrapage’ to left knee and shin was the only penalty, but there was a bonus: it’s the first time I’ve ever enjoyed leg muscle relief* without having to stop. Having passed the SportSunday photographers (thank them for the photo), as I descended to checkpoint 9 (Ilkley Bottom @ 12.9 miles), a man walking up the other way said: “Well done Glossop”. It felt good to be acknowledged so far from home. Our fame spreads far.
Towards the end, the climb up The Chevin to the self clip is always a slow slog. Fell shoes are always needed to avoid the ‘two steps forward, one slide back’ syndrome. I was well equipped so was Alright Jack. The climb continued through the sunlit, snow-filled woods to the final checkpoint at Yorkgate Quarry (CP13 @ 20.2 miles) before the final downhill back to the school in Guiseley. 4:19 was equal 13th out of 20. Then it was time for lashings of tea, beef pie, peas, potatoes and gravy, then rice pudding and peaches for pudding.
Along with the certificate, the free gift this year was a spork – very useful for The Fellsman in a few months’ time. They certainly look after us well on these events. It’s why I keep going back.
* By “leg muscle relief” I mean the relief gained when they are seizing up after hours of running, giving them a new lease of life. Kneeling for 30 seconds to squeeze the blood out of the muscles does this. I press that technique into use towards the end of the first day of an Ultra. OK, I know it was a bit early for that, but never look a gift horse in the mouth 😉
Mad Dog 10k
Steve Page was out PB hunting again, this time over in Southport at Mad Dog 10k. An impressive lack of climb in this race, totaling a nose bleed inducing 26ft over the course. Looks like Steve picked a good one to see what could be done. Well, he came in with that PB, and an incredible chip time of 37.41, coming in 17th position (chip) in a field of over 3000! That is truly brilliant!
I made you wait for it, but we’re off in the Fell Champs, with Mickledon Straddle being first up in the calendar. Lins Palmer was on hand, doing the dirty double, having done Wadsworth yesterday which is really quite bonkers. Elsewhere, a hardy bunch of more mortal Harriers arrived at Langsett, ready to brave the cold and face the 14.3 mile course, covering 2,300 feet of ascent. The route climbs out of Langsett along the Cut Gate path of Mickledon Edge, before dropping down to Howden Reservoir, climbing up Howden Clough and back along the edge to Langsett. Conditions were really very good, lovely sunshine and well trodden snow trails, albeit rather cold and a little slippery in places. It seemed our merry band had a great time, with plenty of en route photos being uploaded to Facebook. No prizes for GDH this time, but it was a very large and strong field.
Anything else I can talk about to delay the results? Aha, as well as receiving a bottle of beer at the finish, the buffet style food at the end was particularly great and worth the entry fee! OK alright, here are the results that speak for themselves!
50 Matt Crompton 2.14.21
55 Will Mather 2.16.02
92 Ian Crutchley 2.24.43
101 Anthony Johnson 2.26.50
128 Pete Wallroth 2.35.35
144 Wendy Trelease 2.43.02
150 Jason Hart 2.44.15
169 John Stephenson 2.52.33
180 Joanne Brack 2.58.44
181 Charmayne Brierley 2.58.44
182 Lins Palmer 3.01.41
A very cold Saturday morning saw Glossop, and many of our usual variants, cancelled this week. I had thought this section would be a bit dull as a result, but again, you lot won’t be held back by the weather!
Marple saw the majority of the action with Peters and Swan clans out en masse. Taking advantage of the frozen course, which is normally a mud bath, “It” couple Emma Peters and Joe Travis continue the excellent form, both smashing out PB’s, with Emma just nudging under 22 minutes again. Also a PB for the tremendous Josie Swan, who just gets faster and faster. If its not one Swan sister, its the other, and I imagine the name will appear in this section many times this year (again)!
Elsewhere we had Sean Philips at Cannon Hill near Birmingham, David Christie Lowe at Woodbank, and David Munday at Heaton Park.
Undoubtedly, our Parkrun tourist of the week goes to Philip Pearce, testing himself at Jamaica Pond Parkrun. Where the hell is that? Boston, Massachusetts!
Check out the consolidated club report HERE
Well that just about wraps it up this week, and I am totally exhausted. I’m sure you are, simply by reading it. I’ll take this opportunity to remind you again of our new email address for reports. We like a bit of detail, but it doesn’t have to be an essay, but we genuinely love to hear about your racing adventures small and large. Get it to us by tea time on a Sunday, and its in!