Saturday, 15 March 2014

How to spot a turnip at 30 paces – and other Haworth Hobblings

If you don’t know your Mankinholes from your Lumbutts (one of those involves a shot of Jura and a doughnut), then this is the race for you.
As this is ostensibly a walking event (aka the Wuthering Hike), our start time was 8am, which necessitated a 5.45 pick up to make our way over to God’s own country. Four of us packed into Stefan’s car for the journey.
As our respective metabolisms warmed up (and the car windows went down), the ice was well and truly broken between us. Conversations around crystal meth and corporate fraud soon followed and before we knew it we were in Haworth, where we arrived just after 7.20 to find the queue for registration stretching out into the car park. It would be a late start.
Featuring the most robust safety pins I have seen in a competitive event, registration was almost as brief as the starter’s orders “well I hope you all know the way – off you go” as went ran up the cobbled main street.
Ian Wolfendale and I had decided to run together before the event; the weather conditions were fair and navigation seemed fairly straightforward so our maps remained in our bags for most of the race, save for a couple of checks.
The first couple of miles took us out of Haworth and up onto the moors, near the Stanbury Splash route and up to Top Withins. The terrain for much of the day was to be farm tracks and paved paths over the fells, with the odd section of road thrown in as we made brief forays into civilisation.
We made our way across the moorland and over the wall of Walshaw Dean reservoir, whose surface was a foreboding mass of tall, dark waves. It was at this stage Ian kindly said that he would stand me a pint if I got him round the course. His answer to my question as to whether if I took him round twice I would get two pints, was not so kindly put.
The first checkpoint loomed into view, with bags of broken biscuits on offer – I opted for a stem ginger number and ran to catch Ian up.
Without going into a blow by blow account of the full seven hours we were out there, we had a great race, the terrain was pretty runnable with a couple of major climbs – up Stoodley Pike and out of Hebden Bridge. The race organisers seemed to have bought a job lot of doughnuts and hot cross buns as this is what we were fed on throughout the race, along with broken biscuits at a couple of CP’s and hot dogs at another.
One interesting bit was coming down off Stoodley Pike. Having had Wendy Dodds in our sight for most of the race, it was at this point we were passed  by Nicky Spinks and a couple of her pals. ‘Not doing too bad after all!’ we said to ourselves. I’m sure they were thinking along the same lines:
“Hey, there’s that Crawshaw fella – didn’t he once do a sub-21 minute Parkrun?”

Shortly afterwards we ran past a farmyard that was full of what looked like yellow, round pebbles – Ian reliably informed me that these were turnips to feed the sheep. You learn something new every day!

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