Sunday 8 October 2017

Withins Skyline fell race 

All good things must come to an end and this was the last race of the season, but what a season it's been, with loads of people trying the fells for the first time and A&T providing double figures several times. On top of that, it looks like we’ll pick up a few prizes at the Run the Moors champs, which is ace!  Thanks for your support this year everyone.

They say that you should learn at least one new thing each day, and those travelling to the race in PSG’s car learned a new word, as we were almost sideswiped by a car that shot out onto the motorway straight to the fast lane.  Only some exemplary handling by the driver avoided disaster … and the new word?  Well it’s only one letter away from, and rhymes with, “ducktart”, but I couldn’t possibly put it in writing, although I’m thinking of having a t-shirt printed!

So, after a brief adrenaline boost, it was off to the race.  Nine A&T-ers lined up at the start, which was in the bottom of a quarry in the lovely surroundings of Penistone Hill Country Park, within the moors on which Charlotte Brontë’s Wuthering Heights was set.  After a brief interlude at the start, where for some reason the race director had decided he wanted to embarrass two runners by insisting on all 358 competitors singing Happy Birthday to them, we were off and were soon running up that hill.  Actually, unusually for a fell race, the start was slightly downhill for the first quarter of a mile until we hit the wiley, windy moors, where we soon ended up on a frustratingly single-file track and slowed right down.  I attempted to go around the outside and ended up flat on my face after tripping on some heather – mountain sob, ankle breaker!  I picked myself up and having pulled myself together, I had another go at going around the outside, but this time I stepped on what looked like a fairly solid bit of mud and sank to my middle in bog.  The guy right behind me tried exactly the same manoeuvre and ended up on top of me.  Oh babooshka, I thought! 

The rest of the race then was pretty much a haze of mud (hurray for X-talons!), with brief interludes of slippery paved paths and several stream crossings.  Whilst were generally always either climbing or descending, rumours of steep hills were a big stripey lie, with only fairly gentle slopes needing to be tackled.  The end came more quickly than expected, with the advertised 12k being more like 10k, though the gentle downhill from the start now became a mountain towards the finish, but finish I finally did – King of the Mountain!  As for the race, I hated you, I loved you too.

So, how many Kate Bush quotes did I smuggle into this report?  No prize for guessing except a bit of kudos, but definitely kudos (and a curly wurly) to the A&T athletes who had “the edge” and completed today’s race. 

Tim Campbell (48:56), Simon Ford (55:18), Brendan Loughrey (58:12), Phil Spencer-Gray (61:51), Carl Murray (62:27), Anthony Hart (63:59), Claire Matchwick (72:57), Rachel Haslam (77:32), Tracy Loughrey (85:17)

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