Yes – Andy O again. And the last of his races in my 70 in 70. For this is race 69. Twice round the res again. And a fitting adieu, after doing so many of Andy’s races this year – thanks Andy.
But first a Withins photo from last week.
This was another Tod Harriers championship race; and, along with one other, I can proudly say that I have now done the most Tod Harriers races this year – 18 so far. There were plenty of Tod Harriers at this race; here are three, with Jimmy.
Another pleasant morning – the weather’s been very good recently – and a mammoth turn out for this race, with 180 runners. I didn’t stay for the prize giving, so I can only report the chocolate bar at the start; we had some concreting to complete at home.
Shepherds’ Skyline is on 7th November. 1 p.m. at the Shepherds’ Rest in Todmorden. Preceded by some cracking junior races.
Second time this month! We ran up the main road to Portsmouth. This may surprise some, so I include a description from the Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales by John Marius Wilson (1870/72).
PORTSMOUTH, a village in Cliviger township, Whalley parish, Lancashire; on the Burnley and Todmorden railway, near the boundary with Yorkshire, 3 miles N W of Todmorden. It has a station with telegraph on the railway, several cotton mills, bobbin-works, brick-works, and quarries. Portsmouth House is the seat of J. Green, Esq.
Portsmouth saw the sense of relocating into Todmorden, and thereby into Yorkshire, around 25 years later, where it has remained.
Then we came back over the tops. We’re enjoying something of an Indian summer – indeed I sat outside to read the paper yesterday lunchtime – albeit only for 5 minutes as it was cold. Cold again today; so tonight, when we got away from the street lights and people had turned off their head torches, we had a fabulous view of the night sky
Beer and food even better this week.
We’re away next week, so I shall miss the pack run; swanning it in Vienna then in Budapest. It’s a hard life.
Bronte country. A classic Dave Woodhead race. 12 km, 300 m of climb. A decent amount of mud and slutch, and generally soft ground to run on. So here’s a photo of some of our fast lads.
A great day out. I was there early enough to watch the junior races; real up and down stuff, though not a lot of mud. Fantastic to watch. Some really good runners, lots just there to enjoy themselves, and a lot of fancy dress. Somewhat cold but not very windy and in the event the sun did come out.
Then it was time for the senior race; 313 runners; the usual start in the bottom of the old quarry, but on this occasion entirely dry there. Some fancy dress. Streams of runners going over the Yorkshire hillside and past Top Withens. This is said to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights.
Eventually managing the ‘gentle’ climb to the finish field with a very short steep final drop into the finish funnel. A curly wurly at registration, fist fulls of biscuits at the finish with a cup of coffee, then more in the same vein for those who went to the prize giving in the pub in Howarth. All for £4 entry. I was 291st. And scored a few extra points in the Tod Harriers Championship.
A trail race next week; then the finale at the Shepherds’ Skyline on November 7th. Which also has terrific junior races, like today.
Not managed to get to one since March – but the nights are drawing in, the midweek races are no more, so tonight has seen me head to the Golden Lion in Tod with my reflective top on; back to running on the road. We’ve not used this venue before. Built around 1770, it was a coaching inn, and Todmorden’s first Post Office. The Todmorden Prosecution Society, established on 20th March 1817, held its meetings here. All a long time ago now; the current proprietor points out that it has had a ‘patchy recent history’.
What a lot of runners! And what a lot I don’t know – plenty of new members. All to the good. It was hammering it down this morning, and cold and windy; but this afternoon was pleasant with some warm sunshine and the clement weather continues this evening.
Many different groups form and set off, including two groups equipped with head torches who really want to, and do, stay off road. I’m not confident enough to join them. So as usual I’m in the ‘moderate’ group (next to the slowest) and we do a tried and tested route essentially covering the previous Hot Toddy route, though with some major modifications. The Hot Toddy is generally on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year; but it has a brand new route coming up this time and is being re-branded as the Red Hot Toddy. I trust the runners will still get their hot toddy to drink once they’ve finished the race.
Anyway, back to tonight. 15 of us and I manage to keep up OK – always a worry, just as when racing. A really pleasant evening, good visibility, little wind, exhilarating to get out quite high up above the town and blow away the cobwebs.
And the food was good as was the beer.
Should be a good preparation for this weekend’s fell race.