Christmas racing on the Haworth Moors
by Richard Foster
For the first time since I joined the club, the Stoop Fell Race didn’t clash with the Peco XC races, so since I hadn’t done it before, I headed over to Haworth for some Woodentops fell racing mayhem, with fellow Orienteer and Ilkley Harrier Jack Wood also tagging along for a lift. It was also to be my 100th race of the year.
My legs felt dead before we even started as we warmed up around the quarry due to having done a parkrun and a night orienteering race the day before as part of my stupid 100+ races in 2013 challenge (for more details see below – if you really want to know), and there was a cold wind that was blowing off the tops that made me glad of the obligatory kit requirement of having to wear a Santa Hat (provided) during the race.
After the slightly less than usual number of shouts of “GET BACK!”, we were told “if you don’t know the way, follow Tom (Adams)” – so on the shout of “GO!”, 401 of us did just that, at varying degrees of distance behind.
I’d had a look at the race route beforehand, but having not raced it, I wasn’t entirely sure which bits were runnable etc – Tim Jacobs had told me that this was one of the few fell races that he’d run every single step of, so this was presented as a challenge not to walk any of it. I therefore started too far back in the field and too steadily, as for the first half of the race I was having to surge past slower runners on the narrow tracks – not good on tired legs. Once on the top though, it was quickly around the Stoop standing stone and with the wind behind you, it was a fast descent back towards Penistone Hill, although again I got caught up with slower runners in front of me. I did know the run in towards the finish and so, despite tired legs and the slight bit of uphill, I just dug in and finished as fast as possible, finding quite a deep, wet hole to fall into en-route.
Mention should go to Dom, who had a phenomenally good run to finish 34th – once place ahead of Olivia Walwyn and beating some other very good fell runners in the process, although he would have been even quicker had he not slipped 400m from the finish and gashed his shin on something resulting in a nice hole….
New Year’s Eve brought the only serious way to end the year – a fell race. This time, the Auld Lang Syne, which as with all Woodentops races starts from Penistone Hill. This time it was Mike, John and myself that headed over together and a blustery, but not particularly cold day. It was nice to see the heavy shower that was forecast came over whilst we were sitting in the car beforehand, rather than as would be usual, just as we started to congregate for the start.
This race brought far more of Dave W’s usual “GET BACK YOU LOT” shouts as we lined up for the start. Unusually for me, I’d pushed my way pretty close to the front, as so got a pretty good start out of the quarry and down the road, which meant that I actually hit the first single track with room (it’s often quicker here going down the road to the junction on this race, even though it’s a lot longer). I got passed by a few heading up the Brontë Way, but was going well in general. I was cautious down the fields, as last year it had been very slippy, but this year it wasn’t too bad despite all the rain we had. The slog out of Sladen Beck was as hard work as usual and I struggled to get going again up the Pennine Way, and the group I’d been with started to work away from me here, but I just couldn’t keep with them. It remained a bit of a struggle all the way up to Top Withins Ruin, although I did have enough breath to have a very quick chat with Alistair Brownlee as he trotted past – he’d decided to run the route as a training run after starting the race (and giving us all a generous 5min head start) – it’d be great to run at that speed on a training run!
Once on the top I started to feel better and stretch out a bit more. I even took a few places back on the descent. Then it was all about hanging on to places back down the fast section down the track and the fields once again – this time the steep field we’d come up early was rather muddy and slippy (unsurprisingly really!) and it was about keeping one’s feet down to the beck. The slog back out up to the track again on the other side was ok.
Once I’d got here, I knew what was to come and just put my foot down along the track onto the Millennium Way – using those in front to work off and gain a few places in the process before over the road and back onto Penistone Hill to finish another enjoyable race and 104 for the year,
Post-race fun involved digging Sharon’s car out of a ditch where it had got stuck before the race….
So…100+ races- why? This came about when a friend from orienteering asked me how many races I’d done – at that point it was July and I’d done about 50, so he asked me if I was going to go for the ton. This unconsciously put the thought in my head and from then on I had to do it. For those interested, I managed 104 races – 28 informal orienteering (‘O’) races, 10 “Terrain” (woods/fell) O races, 15 Urban and Sprint O races, 4 Long Fell, 8 Medium Fell, 9 Short Fell, 4 XC, 6 Trail, 13 Parkruns, 1 Track race, 2 Mountain Marathon, 3 Road and 1 Aquathlon.
For self-consistency purposes, a race by my definition is any event that publishes the results with positions and/or times. (Hence Parkrun = race, and a mountain marathon = 2 races as there are individual results for each day).
Now I’ll have to see how many I do in 2014 – I reckon 120/130 is easily doable….
The Stoop 22nd December 2013 8km/250m
1. Tom Adams Ilkley 30.51
35. Olivia Walwyn F Altrincham 37.46
34. Dominic Nurse MV40 Abbey 37.39
99. Richard Foster Abbey 41.41
143. Timothy Jacobs MV40 Abbey 43.47
218. Alan Hirons MV40 Abbey 48.04
234. Sharon Williams FV50 Abbey 48.53
271. Liz Casey FV50 Abbey 51.02
303. Helen Nurse FV40 Abbey 53.50
Curly Wurly Rat Runs 22nd December 2013
U8 Race 0.5mi/100’
1. Christopher Brown Clayton 2.53
13. Lizzie Nurse 1st G Abbey 3.37
U10, U12 & U14 Races 1mi/150’
1. Jimmy Lund U14 KCAC 6.38
16. Ben Nurse U14 Abbey 7.43
Auld Lang Syne 31st December 2013 9.6km/300m (actually 10.8km!)
1. Tom Addison Helm Hill 42.09
39. Holly Page F CVFR 50.41
87. Richard Foster Abbey 54.34
157. Timothy Jacobs MV40 Abbey 58.53
177. John Fortescue MV50 Abbey 60.19
191. Sharon Williams FV50 Abbey 61.07
194. Mike Ayers MV50 Abbey 61.12
215. Alan Hirons MV40 Abbey 63.00
227. Catriona Purdy FV40 Abbey 63.52
252. Leanne Hague FV40 Abbey 65.30
289. Liz Casey FV50 Abbey 68.70
322. Stella Cross FV50 Abbey 71.42
337. Mark Hetherington MV50 Abbey 72.53
Photos courtesy of Mick Fryer (via Woodentops)