Monday 9 January 2012

For the record

One of the results of high winds in Hebden last week
    For some reason, since Christmas, I've not been firing on all cylinders. I've been a bit wobbly and lacking in energy which is most unlike this aspiring octagonarian. Apart from going a bit overboard with the Champagne and bubbly stuff on Christmas day there's been no more over-indulgence either food-wise or drink-wise. My weight has not risen above it's usual 140 lbs and my resting pulse remains at a constant 42bpm - so nothing wrong there. I'm hoping this is a temporary blip and not the onset of  'old age and decrepitude syndrome'!  However, although I struggled a bit in high winds and rain, and twice had to walk up a hill I normally take in my running stride, I managed to churn out another twenty miles this past week. So, the old legs are still turning over even though the engine is currently feeling a bit clapped out! On a good note, my morale was somewhat boosted this week by some news on a subject I referred to in an earlier Blog.
   In November last year, while surfing running related material on the internet, I happened to log into the 'Yomp' website where details of the Full Yomp (23 miles, 4000 ft height gain) are described thus:
'Starts at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School and heads South out of town and past Wharton Hall, continuing over Wild Boar Fell and on to Swarth Fell before swinging off the tops down to Aisgill Moor. Climbing back from the valley via Hell Gill onto Mallerstang Edge the route passes over High Seat and High Pike and drops down to the Swaledale road near the top of Tailbridge Hill. The final stage is the ascent to the Nine Standards, and then down to Kirkby Stephen'.
    It's over fifteen years since I ran this wonderful scenic route, way back in 1996 when I was 64 years old. I recall it being a glorious day with reasonably dry underfoot conditions and I was pushed all the way by my sometimes training partner and arch-rival, John Ely, who is thirteen years younger than me. I remember slowing a little as I refuelled on the ascent of Hell Gill, only to go into panic mode at the realisation John was little more than 25 yards behind me. He had a clever knack of keeping a very low profile behind clumps of heather, little protruding rocks, or hiding behind other runners as he surreptitiously crept up on people. Fortunately, the adrenalin kicked in and I pulled away along Mallerstang Edge, over Nine Standards Rigg and down into Kirkby Stephen to finish six minutes ahead of him. As fastest runner O/60 that day I was presented with the 'Nine Standards Veteran's Cup' and told, unofficially, that my time of 3hours 42minutes could well be an O/60's course record.
    Being of a certain vintage, I'd totally forgotten about this little matter of a course record until recently coming across the 'Results' section on the Yomp website where Mr R.Moulding of Blackburn Harriers was officially listed as O/60's record holder with his time of 3.45 set in 1995. Needless to say, an email went hurtling through cyber space at a great rate of knots informing the Yomp organisers that a certain member of Longwood Harriers (i.e. yours truly) had in fact run 3 minutes faster than their Mr R.Moulding.  I'm pleased to report that five days ago, on January 4th, an email from John Andrew of the Yomp Committee informed me that after fifteen years my record has finally been ratified and now appears on the list of all time records. Yippee!!!   For reasons of posterity, and before someone re-writes this record again, I thought I'd have a copy of it on my Blog page.  So here it is:
     I've always regarded this as a 'soft' record and am amazed it's stood for fifteen years when there are so many good O/60 runners around. I'd expected it to be broken long ago which, I suppose, is why I hadn't paid much attention to it, until now. The O/60's record for the Three Peaks of Yorkshire, a slightly longer race with more ascent and descent, is 3.38.33 set by Bill Fielding - 12 minutes faster my quickest 'Peaks' time. So come on, all you O/60 fell runners, the next Yomp is on June 3rd. Be inspired. Get out there and give it a go. After all, records are there to be broken.


  1. I hope the spunk returns shortly, best wishes on a speedy recovery.

  2. Woo-hoo! I hope I can hold a record or win an age group one day. I'm planning to maintain my current speed until I'm 100, and then I might be in with a shot! Hope you're feeling better.

  3. Clearly it's not a soft record since it has stood for so long! Congrats to you.

    Maybe see a doctor just to make sure all is well?

  4. t'is the after christmas drag your feeling - most mortals get that slump this time o year, so its about time you got a dose! hopefully you'll be in top shape again soon... great to see the record books corrected - another great record Gordon!

  5. I'll come over in 18 years and break it if no-one has done it by then....

  6. Good to see that they sorted that out,Gordon.You certainly have thrown out the challenge again to those blokes coming into the 60's to have a go at your record.
    I am sure that as your poor weather over there improves you will feel on the upper again ,those grey days can wear one down in UK,one of the reasons that I emigrated so many years ago.
    Keep on running,mate,you are an inspiration.

  7. congratulations on your record :))
    i was looking for the name "Old Running Fox" in the list, and couldn't understand for a while... that's my old age getting started (50 this year :)) )
    i hope your running feelings return quickly
    al the best for 2012

  8. Ha! Way to set the record straight! Internet can be useful sometimes :)

    I can't bust right over there to challenge your record, but perhaps I could shoot for Ruth's?? After some serious hill work!!

    It can help to have someone sneaking up behind you, if you are aware. Usually I try to be the sneak though.

  9. I could use some tips for running fast and I can see that you'd be a great resource!