race reports

Bluebell Trail

Sunday 4th May 2014

By Martin Browne


I am not the right person to write this.  I really am not.  Why?  Because in the great running dichotomy between hard grey tarmacadam or wet, brown mud, I lean decidedly towards the hard stuff.  Actually I more than lean, I lie firmly down upon it.  I am a road runner (baby). Cut me and I bleed blacktop.  Running for me is about the rhythm, the even pace, the zoning out and tuning in; the eyes on the horizon.  Whereas it seems to me that off-road is a never ending, series of millisecond micro-decisions weighing up every single step, eyes fixed permanently on the ground.  It’s stop start, up down, over stiles and under branches (6ft 2 is not a good height for trail runners). It’s an opportunity for the fleet-footed and nimble, the graceful and agile to remind me how heavy, clumsy and lumpen I am.  And okay, there’s all that pretty countryside to run through, but I never see the views, because there’s no opportunity to look up because every step is a potential death trap, what with rocks and roots and holes all vying for your attention and tempting your toes to tripping.  In a nutshell, it’s stressful, not relaxing and I want my running to reduce my stress not add to it.

So what I can say about the Bluebell Trail?  Well it’s a trail. A long one.  10.3 miles to be exact although exact is what we road runners obsess about.  And there were bluebells. Loads of them.  However they were all in the last mile, which meant 9 miles of  relentless slog for one mile of beauty.  It has a hill to beat all hills, a sheer climb that takes you to Mile 4 and the first of many summits.  There is a view from the top of Beacon Hill (it’s a hill and it has a beacon, so you can see what they did there when they named it) over Halifax.  Halifax unfortunately is not worth viewing over, but there’s not much can be done about that.  And a river runs through it, but unfortunately for the ladies Brad Pitt doesn’t.  By which I mean, there is a river crossing right at the end, which despite the opportunity for maximum humiliation, was actually the bit I liked the most.

Like an ill-matched couple, Bluebell and me were never going to work out. It’s not her, it’s me.  Plenty of others will wax lyrical about her charms, but they left me cold. Her chaperones, the Stainland Lions were faultless; cheerful, encouraging, well-organised.  One was dressed as a bear in the woods and what’s not to like about a bear in the woods (and before you ask, I have no idea if he did)?  The goody bag included a Lion Bar.  That’s a good thing in my book and almost makes the whole sorry experience acceptable…almost.  I can guarantee me and Bluebell will never go on a date again, but she has so many admirers she won’t miss a curmudgeonly misanthrope like me.

If you have read this and none of it chimes with you, then you should definitely run it.  From the smiles around me on Sunday, I can guarantee you will love it.  If on the other hand, like me you are hardtop and proud, then steer clear .

Position Name Time Category Cat position Club
1 Andi Jones 1:00.09 M 1 Stockport Harriers
2 Matt Hallam 1:07.52 M 2 Abbey Runners
23 Duncan Clark 1:16.16 M50 2 Abbey Runners
29 Nicky Green 1:17.15 F40 1 Ilkley Harriers
38 Robert Rank 1:19.28 M 20 Abbey Runners
48 John Halliwell 1:21.11 M50 6 Abbey Runners
88 Martin Jones 1:28.06 M40 12 Abbey Runners
117 John Ward 1:32.06 M60 7 Abbey Runners
120 Rob Jackson 1:32.17 M45 25 Abbey Runners
183 Hilary Tucker 1:38.21 F55 1 Abbey Runners
187 Dave Rayson 1:38.34 M45 36 Abbey Runners
216 Liz Casey 1:42.52 F50 5 Abbey Runners
219 Stella Cross 1:43.12 F55 2 Abbey Runners
253 Martin Browne 1:47.28 M50 32 Abbey Runners
260 Laurence Lennon 1:48.21 M50 35 Abbey Runners
288 Sue Speak 1:51.00 F55 5 Abbey Runners
301 Sheelagh Ratcliff 1:52.15 F50 10 Abbey Runners
310 Jasmine Salih 1:54.02 F40 19 Abbey Runners
313 Jane Hallam 1:54.16 F50 12 Abbey Runners
315 Liz Willis 1:54.19 F45 14 Abbey Runners
316 Katie Taylor 1:54.19 F 21 Abbey Runners
327 Lynn Taylor 1:56.10 F45 15 Abbey Runners
410 Amanda Rhodes 2:12.20 F40 30 Abbey Runners


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