> 2010 race reports
23/01/10 Hebden 22 - from Dave Johnson

Two club members, Dave Johnson and Trevor Wakenshaw ran in this LDWA organised trail race/walk. It’s a complicated route which starts and finishes at Mytholmroyd after wandering over the moors surrounding Hebden Bridge. The route directions run to four foolscap pages, or eight if you use a very big font size.  With navigation not being our strong point and to avoid any embarrassment to NFR in case we ended up in Haworth, we ran in disguise in NS Poly vests. This was also done to celebrate Mr Wakenshaw’s return to that august club. (Apparently he switches road clubs every other week, or so it seems).

Unfortunately the day didn’t get off to a very good start; in fact it almost didn’t get off to any sort of start at all. We were supposed to leave at 4.30am and at 5.55 am with still no sign of Wakenshaw, I wasn’t feeling very happy. I couldn’t even ring him in case he’d slept in, (he had), because I only had his number on my mobile phone which I’d left at work. Anyway I was sure that now it was much too late to get to Mytholmroyd for the 8.00am start.

I had actually started to unpack when at 6.00am he arrived and asked if we were still going. I can tell you it was only with considerable restraint that I held back the insults and only replied, “Well I suppose so, if you think we can still make it” He did and a rather fast drive down the A1 saw us at the turn off for Halifax just after 7.30am. I was starting to think we might just make it and maybe we would have if we hadn’t gotten stuck behind two thousand of the slowest cars on the planet. As a result it was nearly half past eight when we arrived at Mytholmroyd, just in time to see the marshals at the edge of town packing up. Still, after driving all this way we thought we’d go and ask if we could start anyway, although we were pretty sure what the answer would be.

However, much too our surprise the splendid organisers just took our names, gave us our tokens and wished us luck! We rushed out to the car to change and set off just behind the sweeper, a novel experience for most people I suspect! Mind you it was a good job she was there because we were setting off in completely the wrong direction until a shout from her put us right! Running down by the railway line with no sign of anyone in front was also a novel experience, at least for me. It was like being a race leader but only slower.

At the first fork in the path, all of the navigating pressure suddenly fell on Wakenshaw and lifted completely from me. In our rush to start I’d forgotten not only my map and route info, but also my reading specs. Now only he could be blamed if we went wrong, which after being so late, was surely no more than he deserved. But, I have to say albeit through gritted teeth, that although we did go wrong several times, none of these were disastrous and overall he did an excellent job. It was though, a relief to start catching up with the walkers and to be able to relax a bit as we wended our way up and then down Hebden Dale.

By the time we left the Dale behind we had also left nearly all the walkers behind and it was up to Wakenshaw to guide us again. He did this very well and even helped put some other people on the right track as well, one young lady in blue in particular. Then we made, or rather he made, his worst mistake as we went haring off down a lane when we should have gone left over a stile. This little diversion gave us an extra half mile of running to do. My companion was very annoyed with the aforementioned lady because she must have seen us going wrong but said nothing.

It had been a dull and cloudy start to the day but now as we climbed onto the moors, the sun broke through the mist to reveal the monument on Stoodley Pike. Just about here Wakenshaw was immensely pleased to catch up with the lady in blue who was obviously uncertain about which way to go. We were absolutely certain and in the best traditions of getting your own back, we steamed on past and didn’t see her again until well after we’d finished. Needless to say, this made Mr W even happier. From Stoodley Pike there was a good descent to the checkpoint at Spring Wood. It’s worth mentioning that most of the checkpoints at this event have food and drinks including beef dripping sandwiches, in huge quantities. If you are determined to get your money’s worth you could certainly finish the race heavier than when you set out, I know I did.

Shortly after leaving this checkpoint we finally began to catch up with the slower of the runners, something we’d almost given up on. From here on you run through pleasant, if rather muddy countryside via a couple more checkpoints, or eateries as they call them hereabouts, until you rejoin the path you started out on twenty odd miles ago. After a few hundred yards the Mytholmroyd Community Centre comes into view where you collect your certificate and yet more food. This time it’s pie and peas, apple crumble and custard and a glass of mulled wine. A pint or two with some friends in the Shoulder of Mutton finished off the day in a decidedly more relaxed fashion than it started.

Oh and by the way, according to Wakenshaw, missing the start was all my fault because if I hadn’t lost my phone I could have phoned him and he wouldn’t have slept in. That man should be a politician.

Dave Johnson

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