Firstly a message from Paul Foster regarding the upcoming XC
The Cheshire champs xc is on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Birchwood Forest Park Warrington. The club will be entering members for this race.
So if any of you would like to enter please respond on this page or send me a email to email@example.com no later than Friday 21st December.
We will send a separate email this week.
Senior female race is 13.40 pm 8300 m
Senior male race is 14.45 pm 10400m
Also a couple of repeat reminders about this week’s Xmas Drink on Friday at 7pm in Frodsham and Sundays Border League race in Angelsey at 11am
Rebecca Tate sent in this report from the Cardington Cracker
Being on my own, I took my old Saab for a good long drive down to Cardington. Even its rally heritage couldn’t deal with the field that was reserved for parking, as it promptly bottomed out on the huge muddy ruts in the gateway. This offered a taster of just how the day was going to progress. All fell races require a degree of navigation; and this one was no exception. Not the course – which was well marked and marshalled – it was finding the village hall to register – I didn’t know where I was going and like a silly sausage I followed signs that said “Start” which led me to a field.
Registration complete, the traditional pre-race toilet visit was necessary. This time I was definitely going to ensure correct navigation, and upon seeing a large queue of men, I assumed there was one single toilet, and asked if this was the case. Bizarrely, it was not and the adjacent room with virtually no queue was in fact the ladies’ loos. This caused much cackling as to the reasons why “Once the men are in there, they’re in for a good 30 minutes” giggled one lady; “Yes they’re probably reading the Sunday Times” cackled another. Quick registration, hardly any loo queuing – all odd but very welcome.
So, off to the start field, where groups of people who knew each other were shouting congratulations at each other for having won tons of other races. Not unnerving at all. And there were the usual sinewy blokes running about eagerly in the cold wearing next to nothing. I positioned myself next to an intriguing looking gentleman who was not only stretching but appeared to be adopting a variety of standing yoga poses, in his Inov8s, in a field. I never saw him after the start, so I guess it worked well for him. But then I’m also very slow.
There were 271 of us, and off we trotted across a field. What a waste of time that was – on the other side was a stile, which is worth getting there early for, because otherwise you politely queue assuming that you’ll go over the stile in order of arrival, but as is often the case a whole bunch of men who generally look like Jeremy Corbyn decide that having ambled slowly over the field, this is a great time to make up 50 places by sauntering right past everyone who got there first (by running quicker as in the spirit of a foot race), and brazenly pushing in at the front.
Thus seething, I carried on. There was next a “green lane” type of path, which was actually a muddy stream, to ensure that for the next 9 miles we’d have squelchy feet. Then through a bog and up a massive hill. It went on, and on, and on. Then came the slippery yellow moss. The best way was actually on hands and feet it was so steep and slippery. Here I observed the next source of annoyance: people who ignore the instructions and don’t carry any kit whatsoever. What a great weight advantage it must give them, and apparently without any consequences as I’ve never seen kit checks at any fell races I’ve been to.
After an age, we got to the top and here the wind was crazy, and blew me sideways. Learning to run leaning into the wind along the ridge, I tried to admire the spectacular views whilst staying upright, and then down a sharp downhill towards another hill that was shaped like a traffic cone. Inevitably that was going to be next on the route. Up we went. Actually I don’t have much memory of this one. I think it’s buried deep in my subconscious and I might wake screaming tonight as it all comes flooding back in my nightmares.
Let’s just summarise the rest of it as bogs, muddy tracks (I’m talking shin deep) with no way to avoid the stuff, a stream, woods, more hills that took a very very long time to go up, more slippery yellow moss. Just as I was thinking how good my fell shoes are on a downhill bit, my feet slid from under me and I went over backwards. To add insult to injury I actually bounced, and landed twice. Let’s put this down to the springy nature of moss; it couldn’t possibly be having a massive bottom – my glutes of iron could never have afforded a bounce like that. Surely.
Seven miles in the constant uphill was really hurting my right Achilles now. It was relentless. I just wasn’t feeling it today, having started out grumpy, what with the cheating queue jumpers and kit avoiders. I seriously considered finding a marshal and bailing, I’d had enough. But my Garmin beeped telling me it really wasn’t far now so I carried on, and the ground levelled out to be more undulating but still with standing mud pools and clay pools to run through. Although the same distance as Clywdian hills and slightly less elevation, this felt a lot tougher. The final field couldn’t come quick enough and there it was, all done. Looking back, the scenery was amazing and I’d love to go back and run it more casually, stop to take in the views, on a nice summer day. But today it was brutal.
Back to the village hall where they served lovely soup, tea and cakes. I came 242 out of 271, not a great result, especially when compared to the first lady who did it an hour quicker and was 9th overall, taking a new course record! Mercia Fell Runners put in a really strong performance, taking 7 of the top 10 places, with a huge turnout overall.
Full consolidated parkrun results for Helsby members are at the link below, highlights include a first place for Col Bishop at Widnes and a first lady for Jenny Illedge at Phoenix