Tuesday 16 August 2011

The rocky road to Arncliffe

Recovered - to take MV75 prize
   Last week was not the best of weeks, a most unsatisfactory preparation for a forthcoming race, but it finished on a high. For starters, my Monday morning training session was painfully interrupted by a severe bout of tummy trouble that had me dashing for cover along the riverbank in order to 'go'.
   Things got worse in the afternoon during a walk from Conistone to the site of an old Iron Age settlement above the aptly named Bull Scar. I say 'aptly named' because a huge bull and his assorted multi-coloured harem came trundling up the path behind us towards the stone circles. (How is it whenever I see a bull words like Rump, Ribeye, Sirloin, T-bone and Porterhouse spring to mind?). Thankfully, he was not aggressive. I didn't feel like running.
   Funnily enough (!) about half an hour later I was actually rendered incapable of running. While looking for a huge cairn 18m across by 1½m tall that had mysteriously melted into the landscape my foot jammed in a rabbit hole throwing me sideways and twisting my Rt knee. It proved a very painful limp down the steep hillside back to the car.
Middlesmoor and Lofthouse Silver band doing their stuff
   On the way home we came across an elderly gentleman crouched by the side of the narrow road trying to remove a cagoule that had got tangled around the rear wheel of his electrically operated mobility buggy and brought him to a halt. It was jammed solid and I'd to tear the offending garment to pieces to get it off.  I wondered why he was not responding to any of my questions and comments. It turned out he was virtually stone deaf, not to mention almost blind! He was a braver man than me to drive his contraption along a winding Dales road hardly wide enough for two cars to pass each other.
LV65 winner
   Back home the offending knee was smothered with Arnica and 75mgs of Voltarol was swallowed day and night for the next four days. By Thursday I was hardly aware of any pain so decided to try a short run. After a mile warm-up I launched into ten very fast wind sprints on the local cricket field, then jogged home. Everything felt OK, so it was all systems go for the Arncliffe 4 mile race on Saturday.
   The morning dawned wet and cloudy, as it had done for days, (or maybe weeks!) so we worried about the state of the field used for parking cars at this event. Our fears were unfounded and we'd no problems getting in or out. Crowds were a little sparse for this years event which, besides the road race, sports a fell race, welly whanging, strong man competition, bric-a-brac stalls, stirring music by the Middlesmoor Silver Band and a colourful commentary from the irrepressible Dales character, Roger Ingham.  
   Sadly, there was a much smaller turnout than usual for this smashing little race. Although mildy undulating it's quite a fast course as it follows the road by the River Skirfare for a couple of miles to Hawkswick, then crosses the bridge before returning up the other side of the river and back into Arncliffe. 
Ted Mason - winning the Fell race by a distance.
   With only 66 entries there was hardly any congestion at the start so we were all away pretty fast behind some decent club runners. A bit too fast in my case. I was struggling a bit along the flooded road mid-race but managed to rally again in the last mile to finish 44th in 32.25 - 24 seconds faster than last year but a long way short of my MV75 course record of 29.30 set in 2007. It was quick enough to take the MV70 prize and the added bonus of a kiss from the delightful lady presenting the vouchers!  I was invited to return next year to set a new MV80 course record. God willing, I'll be there to give it a try.
   My wonderful partner was 1st lady over 65 but missed out on a category prize which were a bit thin on the ground this year due, we suspect, to the very low entry and consequent limited budget.
   Surprisingly, we were still capable of running on Sunday, a gentle seven mile trot to wallow in the heathery delights of Grassington Moor.  A week that had begun in pain for me ended in joy and feelings of satisfaction for both of us. And long may it be so!
Full results here:


  1. Congratulations on your excellent run! Colds/tummy troubles seem to come sooner or later. At least it wasn't during the race!

    :-) Marion

  2. Congratulations on your win and that of your good lady! How fantastic to both be age group champions!