Monday 3 September 2012

Hebden Village Sports

Hebden Crag on a better day - showing the white stone at centre
top which runners climb around before returning along the Rt skyline
The soaking wet weather we experienced at Burnsall Feast Sports on Saturday struck again at Hebden Village Sports a couple of days later on Bank Holiday Monday.  Fortunately, I'd been able to get out for a six mile run in the morning before the heavens opened. After lunch I was one of four stewards marshalling the U/12's, U/14's, U/17's and Senior fell races at three different points on Hebden Crag - in pouring rain.  For the two younger age group races, over shorter distances, we were able to shelter behind walls whilst the runners came and went, but for the latter two races we were fully exposed to horrendous conditions at the very top of the crag.

Start of U12's fell race
Not all went well. Last minute changes to plans by the Fell Race organiser resulted in some frayed tempers and flouting of the rules by senior fell runners. Adverse weather caused some of the listed events on the Sports field to be cancelled which resulted in races being brought forward. Rules stated that all entrants for fell races must be registered before the start of the first race, programmed to begin at 3.30pm. But they began earlier. Some senior fell runners turning up to register just before the deadline were told "Sorry, the first race started 20 minutes ago, you're too late, we're not taking any more entries".

Our Ted in full flight at Burnsall
Ted Mason, one of our local star runners, was one who'd been refused entry and was far from happy when he joined us at the top of the crag as a mere spectator. Had he been allowed to run he could well have won it and gained revenge on the Ilkley Harrier, Hector Haines, who'd beaten him into second place in Burnsall's Classic Fell Race two days before. Other senior fell runners who'd been refused entry stuck two fingers up at the race organiser and ran regardless. Officially, there were 39 starters but I counted 44 over the crag. There could have been more, I'm not very good at counting! 

Senior Fell Race winners Holly Page and Hector Haines with
Hebden's Golden boy, Andy Hodge, who presented the prizes
But whilst feeling sorry for refused runners who'd braved nasty conditions and travelled long distances to take part in our races, I was glad to scramble down early, taking away flags, removing barrier tape and dismantling routes as fast as my frozen legs and soddened feet would carry me. It wasn't much fun stuck 900ft in the air in a howling gale holding a king-size animated flag of St George! We breathed huge sighs of relief on getting home to strip off dripping waterproofs in welcome warmth and wrap our frozen hands round hot mugs of tea.

Bye-bye for now, see you soon
 I reckon that was the final straw after the worst summer since records began. No surprise then that over dinner that evening my wonderful partner and I unanimously agreed that a holiday in the sun was urgently needed to restore our flagging spirits. After much searching of the internet we finally booked a ten day package to Tenerife where we'll soon be running new routes around the precincts of  Puerto de la Cruz before stretching out in the sun, cooling off in the pool, sipping the odd glass of wine while 'Running with the Kenyans' on my iPad - and very little else!  Who knows when this poor old Blog will be updated again.  Watch this space!


  1. Happy vacation to you :)

    Looks like a great race, though I would have likely been one of the last minute entrants without a number- if I could enter. Not sure how the age grouping there works with the "seniors". Was this a college/high school age competition?

    1. Thanks Raina. 'Seniors' are runners over 17 years old and below 40 year old Veteran status (or Masters in the States). Anyone can enter - but I've never dared!

    2. Good info! I think I qualify as a sub-master here, a title I find silly :) . Why haven't you raced this one?

  2. Ooh, I'm jealous of your up-coming holiday. It sounds fabulous!

    Grade ONEderful

  3. Have a wonderful sunny and warm holiday!

  4. Take lots of pictures and get a bit of running in, we look forward to reading all about your holiday. Have fun in the sun!!!

    1. Camera batteries are fully charged. Prepare to be bored out of your mind when I get home with all the pictures!

  5. Marshalling in the rain is no fun. Here in Eastbourne, we have been lucky enough to miss out on a lot of rain, and having moved down from Scotland, I'd call this a pretty good summer! Have a great holiday and enjoy some relaxing in the sun...

  6. Enjoy the hols - well deserved.

  7. Well, I assume you're safely tucked in Tenerife now. Happy running! :-)

    I came over from Marion's (affection for fitness) blog where I've seen you comment some time.


  8. I used to live in Hebden, leaving some 52 years ago. The Junior Fell race was my favourite, winning it three times by sheer luck!!! I am so happy to see that the Sports Day is still active. Peter Turnbull.