Referendum and Race – Thursday 23rd June 2016
It’s 6.30pm in Addingham village just outside Ilkley in West Yorkshire. It’s a pleasant, warm summers evening and the village is buzzing with people going to the polling station and fell runners congregating outside the Crown Inn where registration for the 5.5 mile Beamsley Beacon Fell Race is taking place. A chance to catch up with running friends and aquaintances. There are some fine athletes here as well as us ‘also rans’ with plenty of clubs represented – Ilkley Harriers, Pudsey & Bramley AC, Pudsey Pacers, Skipton, Keighley & Craven AC, Weatherby, Ripon, Harrogate and Leeds not to mention a strong crowd from hosts Wharfedale Harriers. The Idle AC contingent number four – myself (Andew), Donna, Leon and Sean (I hate Fell Running) Duffey.
At around 7.20 we get underway.
A good half mile or more of road before we hit the small footpath and cross the river Wharfe to begin the up hill slog. Leon was setting a strong pace just ahead of me and looked determined to run to the top as hard as he could with Graham Piling from P&B and a Weatherby runner tucked just behind him and me following. I though he must stop soon as we went higher and higher, first across grassy fields, then a stretch of road before hitting the ‘fell’ proper. I was ready to stop, put my hands on my thighs and stride to the top while catching my breath but those three kept going and so I too kept going with parched throat and sweat dropping from me.
We reached the top as a group of four and I wanted to stop, catch my breath and admire the view but there was no time for that, the others were already off down the hill at break neck speed and I dutifully followed. The way back down is a ‘free for all’ pick your own route although there is a recognised, quickest, most direct route it is not obvious as Joe Baxter of P&B can attest to having being in 1st place at this point before going wrong, upsetting a farmer and finishing in 16th. I passed Leon as I went for a more gung-ho, who dares wins attitude to descending although I was struggling now to keep up with Graham and Weatherby man who were flying. I caught them as they stopped to question the correct route, which I confirmed and we were now well on our way back. By now my quads were throbbing, my lungs at capacity and unable to find the oxygen by body craved – not much further, just keep going.
A stretch down a ginnel led us to run in single file between eight foot high nettles and foxgloves, like running down a narrow green tunnel before breaking out to cross the final fields and back over the bridge onto the road. On the way out the stretch of road had flashed by in a few seconds but it now appeared to be never ending. Thoughts were running through my head – just consolidate your place, don’t let the footsteps behind you catch up, they must feel as drained as you, nearly there!
And across the line!
Andrew – 23rd – 41:54
Leon -33rd – 42:51
Donna – 51st – 45:53 (3rd Lady Prize – Well done Donna although having been 1st Lady at the top we need to do some downhill sessions!)
Sean – 101st – 53:23
Next up for me?
Eldwick Gala – Saturday 25th June – 3 miles
Bradford Millenium Way Relay (Leg 2) – Sunday 26th June – 9 miles
Heptonstall Festival – Saturday 2nd July – 5.9 miles
Silsden Murder Mile – Thursday 7th July – 1 mile (uphill only race)
Wasdale Lakeland Classic – Saturday 9th July – 21 miles
Snowdon International Mountain Race – Saturday 16th July – 10 miles
Idle AC Championship Results after 5 races
Next race is at Bingley Show on Saturday 23rd July. It’s worth entering in advance as it’s cheaper. On the day you need to pay into the show £10 and £3 for the race but in advance it’s £5 and £3.