"I've brought my running stuff" my wonderful partner announced upon arrival at Windhover, a statement that prompted a naughty word to pass through my mind. What she meant was "I'm intending to do the Cliffe Castle Parkrun in Keighley on our way back to Hebden in the morning". Not fully recovered from whatever nasty lurgy it was that had flattened me over the last three weeks I was in no fit state to accompany her but knew full well I would. "OK, I'll jog round behind you" I said, preferring that to standing around in the cold waiting for her to finish.
But it didn't quite work out like that.
|A Strava profile of the course from my watch|
(Click all pictures to enlarge)
Saturday morning dawned cold, windy, damp and misty - conditions that reduced the number of participants to just 137. Or maybe it was the steep hill on each of the three laps that put people off ever returning to run this course twice.
Being fell runners, we coped.
The lady's W70-74 course record stood at 39 minutes and a few seconds, a time I'd told my wonderful partner she could beat. I'd meant it as an incentive to put her foot down and set off in pursuit of a new record. And she did.
|Through the roof|
We were both a bit shocked at the steepness and length of the hill on this course and were forced to adjust pace accordingly. For me it was a case of hands on knees and walk as fast as possible to get to the top - as fell runners do - but my heart rate went through the roof.
|A celebratory dram|
However, there was a happy outcome for us, more so for my wonderful partner who crossed the line in 37.57 to set a new record in her category, but a record for me too with 36.12 in the M85-89 category. Longwood Harriers raiding party had struck again. Back home in the evening we'd a celebratory dram and fell into bed feeling smug and happy.
|Top and bottom of it|
To be honest, my record was fairly meaningless, only happening because everyone else of my vintage had sensibly shunned this challenging course. When/if ever we're both fit again we'll have another go at it and try to improve those WAVA gradings.
I was a bit stiff the following day (a gross understatement) so whilst my wonderful partner attended a compulsory National Parks meeting in Grassington I took myself up the ghyll for some gentle walking in an attempt to loosen up.
It was a cold day of clear, blue skies with a gentle breeze.
|Scala Falls in Hebden Ghyll|
I scrambled past the foot of the crag but had no desire to ever climb it again. Then on to the Miner's Bridge where I failed to get any decent pictures. I lingered an hour or so in a warm, sunny hollow, taking pictures of Scala Falls before my battered body began telling me it was badly in need of sustenance. I turned for home, deciding I'd better take notice of it.
Post script: On the wall of my study is the inspiring text "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". I've always thought Paul should have included the words "God requires me to do" after the word 'things'. That poses the question, why would He ever 'require' me to indulge in anything so physically demanding as Keighley Parkrun?
God only knows...