Tod Park 5k

This road race was entirely in the park.  So it does seem fair to ask – why is it at a ‘road race’ price?  Certainly not as expensive as some road races, but fell race organisers charge a lot less.

The economics of putting a race on the road are more challenging; police and local authority to satisfy, maybe road closures and so on.  It all costs.  But in the park it must be less.

One of our club members posted ‘5 laps, no route choice, flagged, flat, tarmac. What’s not to like?’  Pretty much all of those, I’d say.  So – why am I doing it? I need it for the club champs.

I’d marshaled a local fell race 2 evenings before; I was asleep (or, rather, doing a sudoku) when the first runner materialised, considerably earlier than I had expected.  Poor time estimation on my part.  But apart from  that I managed to perform my duties satisfactorily.  A nice evening and a lot of satisfied runners.

Then the previous evening I took the pack run up and past Burnley’s singing ringing tree.

Singing Ringing Tree High above Burnley
Singing Ringing Tree
High above Burnley

I’ve been a few times before; once again I failed to perceive it either singing or ringing.  And it’s clearly not a tree.  But a nice spot, and a good route.

So the positives; I completed another club champs race;  I ran all the way without stopping; maybe that’s it.  Time? – don’t ask.  Running style? – don’t ask.  EQ (Enjoyment Quotient) – guess.

And it was referendum day.  Nuff said.  Most unsatisfactory.

Castle Canter

Another pack run been & gone.  Joyce & I have finally bagged another trig point; we walked the Gorpley Reservoir route that I’d done a few weeks earlier on a pack run.  A pleasant evening, though the ground a little damp underfoot; the bluebells had all disappeared from Gorpley Clough.

And, to put a damper on everything, this week we were reminded of the disastrous failure of the sea birds nesting on St Kilda, which was first reported in December.  Global warming is very real and extremely worrying.

So this is a new fell race, here in Tod; from Dobroyd Castle.  And as I’m a FRA race liaison officer I was assigned to report on the race.  I’d met with the organiser, Steve Brock, a couple of weeks ago and was impressed at the legwork he had put in; he was kind enough to say that some of the comments I’d made were helpful.

Dobroyd Castle High above Tod
Dobroyd Castle
High above Tod

A late 19th century castle, built at enormous expense and with a model farm beside it.  Lived in for a while by the cotton manufacturer family; underused for a long time; then a school for naughty boys; then disused; then a Buddhist retreat.  Now an activity centre – takes primary school parties who seem thoroughly to enjoy what’s on offer.

5.30 p.m. on Sunday.  At around 3.30 p.m the rain set in.  At around 4.30 p.m. the clag came down.  And the race goes over just about the most featureless terrain hereabouts; if it was not for the windmills, you might have no idea where you are.

57 hardy souls set off in the downpour;  I was soon flagging very near the back.  Things did pick up a bit, and I did catch a small number of runners; but once we got to the navigation section I would have found it much harder had I not had a lovely lady member of our club to reassure me and keep me on a sensible track.  We eventually crossed the finish line hand in hand.

A road race next, later this week; and, prior to that, I’m marshaling at a local fell race.

Otley 10 – Road Race

I have been to more pack runs; we’re at a new venue this month, the Queens, at Cliviger (our one annual foray into Lancashire); I went up Ingleborough one day, on my way home from meeting someone in Kendal; I’ve had meetings with race organisers in my role as a FRA race liaison officer; and, in that role, I attended the Hebden Bridge Fell race.

That was a lovely evening and a well organised and much enjoyed race; I’m sorry now that I did not run it (though that would have prevented me observing the finish funnel).  Not only was it a good race; there were no vet 70s, so I would have been in line for a prize.

So I thought at Otley, as I was the only vet 70 in the list of pre entries.  But it was not to be; my club mate and nemesis turned up on the night, and, as always, was well ahead of me.

I see Thomas Chippendale was born at Otley.  The town has an impressive clock.


It also has a food bank.

The first couple of miles are on a pavement beside a busy road; then you cross the Wharfe and get onto quieter roads and after a while the climbing starts and fairly quickly I slow to a walk.  (I originally typed – slow to a halt.  Pretty close).  Not good.  But it was hot, and I was slow.  I found it hard.  Eventually I was 311th out of 367.

Sometimes I was walking as fast as others were running; once I even overtook a runner in this manner.  Don’t know what it does to his psychology – but it cheers me up.

I didn’t actually pass all that many competitors; and a lot of those whom I did pass then got past me in the last half mile.  And I even found the final circuit of the cricket pitch hard, and I got overtaken there.  Ah well.  It’s a nice enough race, I’ve got some Club championship points in the bag, there was beer and cakes at the finish, and the Club’s next race is on the fells.

Actually that is true – but it’s in Wales, a monumental British Championship race, and I won’t be going.

The one after is a new race, here in Tod, which I will be doing and which I am looking forward to.  Also a fell race.  It starts and finishes at the Castle.


Saddleworth Band Contests

Whit Friday.  Off to Saddleworth, as every year.  We’ve settled on Greenfield, though the setting for the actual contest is not as pretty as Dob Cross.  We’ve tried a lot of the other venues; Greenfield wins because the bands have a long march along Chew Valley Rd, the main village street; and because, half way along the street is the Methodist Church with excellent pies, tea, black peas, and cake.

Chew Valley Road, Greenfield
Chew Valley Road, Greenfield

And my grand daughter likes the contest venue; as well as the band there’s a great permanent children’s playground and, on band contest days, bouncy castles and a roundabout.  Though it’s not steam driven.

This year my daughter’s band is not taking part, so quite a few band members have come to watch.  While a good few of the others are moonlighting with various other bands who have entered.  So there’s quite a crowd of them at Greenfield.

Not as many foreign bands, it seems, this year; I only spied one German and one French band.  But the coaches were still queuing to get into Greenfield when we were leaving, so maybe that’s where they all were.

Regrettably the rain came down from about 8 p.m. which certainly scared off some of the spectators.  But we had a fine day of it, and we will be back, as usual, next year.