> 2010 race reports
21/11/10 Clay Bank West - from Dave Johnson

photo: D. Aspin

In the three years that I've been running I'm sure I've never seen as many NFR members at a North Yorks Moors race. All told I think there were fifteen, far too many to mention by name!

My morning got off to an amusing start when the first person I saw turned out to be non other than “Farmer” Green looking splendidly rural in very fetching countryman’s flat cap. Sadly he chose not to run in it. Subsequent laughter was directed at me when it was revealed that I had arrived with two left mudclaws. How this happened remains a complete mystery to me, although later events did make me suspect that some sort of nefarious goings on had taken place.

Luckily, Trevor Wakenshaw was on hand to offer had a spare pair of exactly my size that he offered me the use of.  That he had some that just happened to be my size so readily available did not strike me as suspicious at the time, although later on it most certainly would do. Even at the time his explanation that this was because he was the same shoe size as me seemed just a little far fetched. Anyway, beggars can't be choosers so I had no option but to take them.

It was a very cold day so we thought that for a change a proper warm up was in order.  This was so perfectly timed that by the time Dave Parry sent us on our way we had cooled down completely, although it did achieve one thing. It reminded me of just how much of yesterday's Brampton-Carlisle race was still in my legs. Today was going to be a bit of a struggle.

Despite those gloomy prognostications I felt I was going fairly well until I went over on an ankle about a mile into the race. This is something that very rarely happens to me yet two hundred yards later I went over on the other ankle, what was the matter with me today? Anyway I was lucky, after a few gingerly executed steps damage control reported that everything was just about under control and I pressed on with little if any discomfort. A few runners I knew had in a rather unsporting manner, taken advantage of my brief stops to creep ahead of me, but I consoled myself with the thought that I would sort them out on the climb up to the ridge. This proved to be the case as my superior ascending skills won out and I soon left then all grovelling in my wake.

Then just before I reached the top of the ridge disaster struck. What occurred was a novel experience for me, I'd seen many another runner suffer from it and I must admit to having indulged in a little snigger or two at their desperate predicament, but until today it had never happened to me in a race, ever. Today, for the first time, a shoelace came undone! I had no option but to pull off the path and retie it but no sooner had I got going again when the other lace came adrift! What was wrong with these damn shoes! This was annoying and what made it doubly so was that my usual rivals had pulled ahead again and I knew I’d never catch them now, especially after I went over on an ankle yet again on the slippery paving stones.

I did however manage to catch up with Graham Bingham, something else that had never happened in a race before and I thought maybe I'm not doing too badly after all. This lifted my morale for all of five seconds until he said he was struggling, this being was his first run back after injury at The Two Breweries. Unfortunately for him, his attempted psychological warfare backfired and only served to encourage me try all the harder to leave him behind as we ran along the Hasty Bank ridge.  But I couldn't quite shake him off though and when it was time to leave the pavement for the descent down the fell-side and back to the woods, Graham’s superior descending ability came into play. He soon passed me and although I in turn passed a couple of people, he stayed well ahead all the way to the finish.

Dave and Graham at the Wain Stones (photo: D. Aspin)

Fortunately, there was  a happy ending to my day despite all of those untoward and unexpected incidents and accidents. That chance encounter with Mr Bingham had spurred me on so much that I managed to record a 15 second PB despite the faulty fell shoes. It was also a happy day for NFR as Will Horsley ran splendidly to win the race and NFR also took the team prize.

Shortly after the race, police arrested one Mr T Wakenshaw on a charge of knowingly supplying fell shoes equipped with illegal destabilising ankle units and quick release laces. On November 23rd at an emergency session of HM FRA Court the accused was found guilty as charged and sentenced to compete in the next 6 Great North Runs at his own expense.

Dave Johnson

results and organiser's report on Esk Valley site
more photos by Dave Aspin

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