Monday, 5 May 2014

February 2014

Another Woodbank parkrun mid month was flanked by the following events:

Sat 01/02. Rombald's Stride 23mi.
I love this race from Guiseley up onto the moors above Ilkey, Otley Chevin providing the sting in the tail. This was my 15th consecutive year. We have seen a great variety of weather and we have seen some flagstone paths replace bottomless bogs in recent years. That's all well and good but the combination of rough flagstones and a thin sheet of ice is a lethal one. There were injuries and at least one retirement with a badly cut knee. The wind on the tops was icy and relentless but at least it didn't rain, or sleet, or hail.

For pictures, SportSunday were out in force again but the album seems to have disappeared from their website. Lucky I bought mine when I did.

Dave and Eileen Woodhead of the Woodentops were also there taking their pictures, shown in set 1 and set 2. The picture below is taken from their prolific output. It was a nice sunny day but that wind wasn't 'alf keen.

My pictures are here.

Sat 08/02. Anglezarke Amble 24mi.
Another long-term favourite and my 14th time, this is an LDWA event geared towards walkers but runners are always welcomed. This has also enjoyed a great variety of weather. Remember the big ice year? It's the time of year - so unpredictable. The route from Rivington takes in Rivington Pike, Winter Hill, Darwen Tower and Great Hill. Great Hill has degenerated into a shocking state over the years with the foot traffic. This year, a wind increasing to strong gale force made the summit of Great Hill an abnormally dangerous place to be. It was impossible to stand up in the onslaught from our left and we had to present our minimum profile to it to avoid getting blown over. It all added to the fun and sense of adventure. Relative calm and warmth returned by White Coppice and the lower level, sheltered final few miles back to Rivington.

My pictures are here.

Sat 22/02. Flower Scar 6.5mi fell race.
Based at Todmorden cricket club, this was my first time on this and I loved it. Weather was perfect - dry and sunny as predicted in the forecast. Conditions underfoot were steep, wet and slippery, making me wish I'd worn the new fell shoes I'd just bought at the stall at the start. Still, at least we had the bonus of a bit of new access road instead of bog and tussock to run along on Flower Scar Hill. It provided access to the new wind farm still under construction.

There were marshals galore and the organisation was extremely attentive under the pressure of the new FRA safety diktat. Hoops were jumped through to comply, including kit checks and herding us into a starting pen - twice - to count us out. All numbers were correctly displayed on chests for counting back in. Fortunately the weather was so good we didn't have to cover up our numbers with jackets (they were carried in bum bags along with matching full waterproof leg cover and the other bits demanded by the rules for this little jaunt never far away from civilisation). Thanks and well done to Todmorden Harriers for such exemplary organisation and implementation.

Keith Parkinson was up on the hill taking pictures, including this one:

The picture below (taken by me at the end of the access road before the return to bog and tussock) gives an idea of the size and shape of the turbine aerofoils:

The rest of my photos are here.

January 2014

Sorry for the long absence. Life's too busy these days and blogging has taken a back seat as you no doubt noticed. I shall attempt to catch up taking a month at a time.

2014 continued busier than ever with a Woodbank Parkrun on Sat 4th and:

Sun 05/01. Belle Vue Racers Hit The Trail 5mi.
This has become a firm favourite of mine as a post-festivity lurch back to reality. A trail race with mud and a few short sharp climbs thrown in for added entertainment, it winds its way around Reddish Vale Country Park and finishes with an uphill kick to the finish. 'snogardnet' was at the finish to capture the uphill pain. I just about held off my pursuers.

Sat 18/01. The Hebden 22mi.
Another massive turnout of competitive runners for what was originally conceived as a walking event, but they don't mind. In fact they welcome us because we are polite and courteous and we don't eat much checkpoint food. :-) Yours truly put in a PW performance of 4:44, but the course was slightly lengthened by a couple of reroutes and it was, of course, an utter mud-fest. It was good to see Steve Foster out there with his pooches to cheer us on.

Steve gives encouragement on the reroute to the finish.

My pictures are here.

SportSunday were out in force as usual taking some amazing pictures considering the poor light conditions.

Following the event we had our Runfurther relaunch meeting across the road in the Dusty Miller. The phoenix rose from the ashes. Long Live Runfurther!

Runfurther lives with a more certain future. 

Sun 19/01. Lamb's Longer Leg 5k fell race.
Race 1 in the Hayfield Championships and my first race as a Glossopdale Harrier as second claim club for fell racing. The weather gods finally smiled on us for our steep slog in the hills above The Lamb Inn. With yesterday's Hebden in the legs there would be no PB today.

My new family.

Sat 25/01. Kinder Trial fell race.
Race 2 in the Hayfield Championships, this is an orienteering race from Hayfield in the foothills of Kinder Scout. It was long and tough this year with 16 controls and over 13 miles. For a change there was no snow, just water and mud. In contrast to previous year's 'headless chicken' running around, I backed off and gave myself time to navigate before starting to run. Result? Big PB and highest ever placing for this event - a top half finish no less, which is always hard to come by in fell races. Picture below was captured by competitor Stephen Burt. Nice one Steve.