......and de-flagging, that's what I seem to have spent an awful lot of time doing this past weekend. Hebden Village Sports, involving four separate fell races for different age groups, is held each year on August Bank Holiday Monday. Flagging and marking out of the under 9's fell race, two 750m circuits of a steep field, is easy for me but given how the grass is always unmown and knee high, I always feel sorry for young competitors and wish things could be made easier for them. But that's how it's always been and that's how it always will be.
|Zoomed shot of Hebden Village sports field from under 14's turnaround (Click to enlarge)
Over ambitious parents shouting and encouraging their tiny tots often results in tears as also, I've noticed, happens in the under 12's fell race which involves climbing a wall, which even I struggle with, before a very steep climb to the turnaround point. Under 14's run half as far again, but are usually running club members and more used to such things.
Under 17's and seniors use the same course, wading the fast flowing beck in Hebden Ghyll, ascending steeply to the brackeny zig-zag path at the foot of the crag, an almost vertical hands-on climb to the top, then a fast descent involving the scaling of two high walls which I always circumnavigate when flagging the route. OK, I'm a wuss!
|They're coming - leaders in the Senior fell race, having crossed the beck and on their way to the Crag
Three of us were involved with flagging the various routes, then marshalling and carrying the huge flag of St George to the top of each fell route on race day. This year we were also asked by the committee to take photographs for the local press.
Come the day, it was overcast and not too warm (which suited the fell runners) but the rain held off, bar a few spits, and the meeting was judged a huge success. Lots of people spent lots of money and so many children turned up for the novelty races that extra heats had to be run.
|Climbing the Crag
Yours truly got loads of exercise wading the beck, scrambling up the crag (three times), bashing through bracken with an armloads of flags and roll of barrier tape, then marshalling on the day. But so far as I was concerned, it was all preferable to racing. I could never handle those high walls with ground that slopes away on the landing side.
|Jeannie Powell of Wharfedale Harriers
So, with umpteen miles of staggering about with armfulls of gear, plus 18 miles of running, I reckon it was a fairly productive week which should help keep the weight down and ward off the much talked about Type 2 Diabetes for a little longer. Well, that's what I'm hoping.....