Friday 30 August 2013

Winding down, psyching up....

      It's hard to concentrate on blogging when the old brain is focused on more important things. Throughout a
Yorkshire mountaineer - Alan Hinkes OBE
busy weekend in the Yorkshire Dales, I couldn't help thinking I'd have been better employed preparing for our imminent camping holiday which, at the moment, is only three days away. Flights are booked, Swiss Cards bought for half price travel, travel insurance purchased and, well, nothing much else really. (oh, excuse me while I go and stick some clothes in the washer). Some people would be starting to panic but, thank God, I'm not into such things. Well, not yet! The only thing that slightly puzzles me is how to fit half a wardrobe of clothes, boots and shoes, tent, sleeping bag, thermarest, stove, billies, first aid, water bottles, torch, and other odd bits of camping gear all into one small rucksack to carry on my back. Time to put my magician's hat on!
Old Runningfox - in his element.....
August Bank Holiday began with a Friday morning visit to the Royal Infirmary after an eagle eyed dentist discovered something in my mouth she thought shouldn't be there. After all of a ten second examination of the offending object the Consultant likewise decided it shouldn't be there, described what he thought it was, and recommended a course of action to remove it. Whilst busy scribbling notes into the necessary heap of documentation he peered at me over his spectacles and said...."My God, eighty one? I'd have put you at around sixty. In fact, you'd pass for a rough fifty year old". Hilarious!!  I was chuckling all the way back to the Dales.
      After a quick lunch we set off to run and
Another fine sadistic route.....
explore another of those sadistic routes my wonderful partner is ever inventing for her group of U3A walkers. It wasn't easy, as usual, but took us into wild and beautiful places where soft breezes stirred the heather, where plovers piped their plaintive notes and startled grouse sprang from almost under our feet with their raucous cries of 'go-back, go-back, go-back'. I hope they keep a little farther away from those people who'll shortly be taking to the moor with their slaughtering guns. A large bird of prey with swept back wings, possibly a peregrine, circled the air over Priest's Tarn Hill, the first we've seen for quite some time. We thought they'd all been annihilated along with the ravens, foxes, stoats and weasels. With numerous photographic interludes our 8.22 mile route took an hour and fifty minutes and has been duly inserted into the latest U3A programme of events.
MV70 runner, Don Stead, finishing Burnsall 10
Saturday was Burnsall Feast Sports but sadly I took no part in it this year. Having been officially acknowledged as the oldest person ever to have run the 10 mile road race last year, I rested on my laurels and went along as a mere spectator. It wasn't easy. I've never been very good at spectating and when Alan Hinkes OBE fired the gun to start the road race I was inwardly kicking myself for not entering. Amongst the pictures I took of runners filing past was one of my old antagonist, Don Stead, whose smiling face made me feel thoroughly ashamed of myself for not being with him. He was stll smiling when he crossed the line an hour and a half or so later. Well into his seventies he still loves to run and race.
      Sunday was spent flagging the various fell race routes
Fell race winner Simon Bailey tackling Hebden Crag...
ready for Hebden Sports the following day.  We must have done a reasonable job as only one runner managed to get lost. Maybe his specs got steamed up, or he found the rocky crag or high walls a bit daunting and decided on a detour. On an exceptionally sunny Bank Holiday Monday, our Sports meeting was a huge success and attracted large crowds, although many of our elite fell runners were attending a championship race some miles away at Reeth in Swaledale.  But we still had a pretty good turnout, among them Simon Bailey of Mercia Fell Runners, and you can hardly get more elite than him. He led the race from start to finish, as he had done at Burnsall two days before and at Kilnsey Show the day after. Sandwiched between Burnsall and Hebden he'd also run third in the senior Guides race at Grasmere. He won the Hebden race in 11.05, about the time it would take me to climb over one of the walls. Kirstin Bailey of Bingley Harriers, a multiple winner of the BOFRA championship, won the ladies race.
      Mileage-wise I've been winding down this week with nothing whatsoever entered in the training diary, and only fifteen miles last week compared to twenty five the week before. However, a heap of running gear is laid out on the spare bed ready to stuff into my sack for the trip to Switzerland. Not that we know exactly where we're going yet, but I've a feeling the Eiger Trail Run could feature fairly high on the agenda. Watch this space!


  1. No doubt it's the running keeping you looking so young! Have a great time in Switzerland!

  2. A rough 50 year old! I love it!
    Have a great trip.

  3. You are a true running ledend, great blog, I have just come across it this eve. Great to see the pic of dad (I was trailing somewhat behind him at the time).

    Will look forward to reading more of it.


  4. Sorry I mean legend of course!