This year, I got a call from Stevie K, a member of Glossopdales neighbours and "arch rivals" - Pennine, wondering if I would make up a team with him.
I ummed and ahhed for about 5 seconds, re-arranged my evening and said yes.
The race itself has 2 legs, each 2.8km in length. The first one goes down, carrying an "organic" baton (last year was a carrot, this year was a very long, and somewhat appropriate Runner bean), exchange the baton with the other runner at the bottom, who then runs back UP the hill to the start/finish.
I took responsibility for the down phase, knowing it was going to be pretty fast and furious.
As it was, there were 21 teams, so that made 21 of us hammering down the first part of the track as hard as possible to get to the slippery, winding track down the hill. I was in the first 3, but could feel Simon of Macc Harriers already stretching his legs away from us.
About 400m into the race, the guy in front of me lost his grip and went down, so I slightly changed where I was putting my feet to avoid him, and in the process went down as well.
On a narrow track.
In front of 20 other runners who were right behind me.
I think I got hit by 3 of them, with knees in various bits of rib and kidney as I scrambled upright and continued running. (with runner bean baton still intact). If only there was a photo of that. (all things considered, it probably wasn't as impressive as I think it should have looked, but there you go).
Down the hill I managed to hold 4th, then got passed with a km to go. The last 400 metres were pretty horrible, oxygen debt and general pain, not really thinking about much but being able to close the gap.
Managed to get past the guy in front of me and ploughed down into the change-over area in 4th, handing the Bean over to Stevie. I got down in 9:40 or so. About 20 seconds outside of Jack Ross's record breaking time from last year .
Soon enough, runner after runner were piling into the finishing area. Soon enough John Hewitt came in, with Neil McGraw hot on his heels, sending off Chris Jackson and Caity Rice (all Glossopdale), so that was good to see.
The midges were just getting annoying a minute later as Simon Baileys partner came in and handed over the baton, giving Simon a bit of a deficit to make up, and, hopefully, a bit of a challenge on the way up.
Us Downward runners gathered ourselves together and variously wandered/ hobbled/ jogged back up the hill.
Once up there it seemed that Stevie had overturned 4 runners on the way up, and had been passed by the incredible Mr. Bailey, bringing us up in 2nd overall.
|Not something I see very often.|
So a couple of bruises, some fast running and an excellent uphill partner means that we got a prize. Well. 2 prizes. A homemade fruit loaf and some homemade apple chutney. Both of which were split 2 ways when we got home.
I've just had a bit of both (not together), and I have to say, they are really very very good.
Thankyou Noel and Mrs. Noel for the race and the prizes.
|Stevie, Neil, Caity and Me. (Neil and Caity were 3rd Mixed pair)|
An eclectic race that deserves more attention.