> 2009 race reports
13/12/09 'Twas The Simonside Cairns' - from John Telfer

“Twas the Simonside Cairns”

with sincere apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

Twas the twelfth day before Christmas, when all over Rothbury town
116 creatures were stirring, with demeanour of both grin and frown
Phil Green’s stockings worn at last week’s Hobble had happily been hung by the chimney with care,
Meaning that this week his legs were considerably bare!

The runners were nestled all snug in their technical gear,
With visions of finishing the race and getting in some beer.
And Wendy in her ‘kerchief, and Paul in his cap,
On the dot of eleven sent us on our way and settled down for a brief winter’s nap.

Out on the road there arose such a clatter,
As runners sprang up the hill, the air alive with patter.
Away up the farmer’s lanes we flew like a flash,
Through the  gate, followed by the backmarkers who had been out on the lash.

Beyond Lordenshaws the sun shone on the ground
As runners progressed through mud, marshland and tussocky mound.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But Phil Sanderson marshalling, admiring the runners in their colourful gear.

Sporting his tea cosy hat whilst admiring the runners so lively and quick,
Taking photos, dispensing jelly babies and not missing a trick.
More rapid than eagles we all eventually came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called us by name!

"Now Gibson! now, Bennett! now, Robertson and Duff!
On, Stephens! On, Green! on, on Dallinson and Telfer, now in a huff!
Through the slippery wood! And the knee lashing heather!
Now dash away! Dash away with mud spattered legs the appearance of leather!"

And through the silent and eerie wood, like wild hurricanes we did fly,
Enshrined in fairy lights with no sight of the sky.
So up to the mountain-top the runners they flew,
With bumbags full of waterproofs and confectionery too.

And then, in a twinkling, behind me I heard on the mountain-top roof
The prancing and pawing of each little chasing hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
There was Pat snapping away as we came past with a bound.

Descending back down to Lordenshaws, all fleet of foot,
And with clothes all tarnished with mud looking like soot.
Demonstrating that one or two had been flung on their back,
Possibly whilst seeking a jelly baby when opening their pack.

The pursuing runners, their eyes - how they twinkled! with dimples how merry!
With cheeks puffed out like roses, regretting the previous night on the sherry!
And then Allon Welsh came by, his droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And with newly acquired beard on his chin was as white as snow.

We battled to the finish, determination on view through gritted teeth,
Having done battle through bog, mud, hill and heath.
With broad face and a little sight of a belly,
As we avoid all fatty food, like a bowlful of jelly!

Over the bridge, up the path to the finish, just beaten by Green, a right jolly fellow,
And I laughed when I saw him, despite feeling decidedly mellow!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

At the finish organiser Appleby spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled in all the results, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, dispensed all the prizes with a smattering of Northumberland prose!

Now time for home I sprang to my sleigh, and to my NFR team mates and friends gave a whistle,
As in different directions we all flew like the down of a thistle.
And as I departed I was heard to exclaim, ‘ere I drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

John Telfer

(the original poem "Twas the night before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore can be easily googled)

Jolly Christmas decorations courtesy of Peter Reed - photo:Pat

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