Report from OAC’s Reid Haddow:
One solitary “Black and White” made his way over to the Red Rose County early Sunday morning to compete in the Longridge 7 Mile Road Race.
Not knowing what to expect but got a fairly good idea of the terrain that we would be competing against on the journey over. Turn right literally at the side of Pendle Hill area and meandered our way up hill and down dale towards Longridge arriving at 9.30am – to be the only car there! “Am I at the right place?”, I thought to myself, stood outside the locked Civic Centre and dying for the loo!
Very slowly, there became life, with another two cars pulling up alongside me. “Been here long mate?”, one chap shouted, “Don’t get things moving until about ten”.
“Can you open the doors please, I want the loo!”, I said.
“Aye”, he replied , you look a bit desperate, as I charged through the door urgently seeking the “Gents” – I knew it was cold!!
The race started prompt at 11am, with a field of 213 hardy souls, bracing themselves for the mountain climbs that were to come. There was a bitterly cold north wind with a chill factor that must have been minus 10C degrees but it was fairly bright.
The curse, sorry, the course, set off from the Civic Centre, turned left and headed up the main street, a gentle steep hill, turned left at the top and climbed very steadily towards the sun (and the sun is very high as we all know). I kept looking for the flat bits, or praying that one would come along soon, turned right, another hill, ahh, a downward stretch at last, which lasted all of 20 seconds then turned sharp left and it was like looking at Mount Everest in front of you – at least half a mile to the summit.
The the wind at the top blew my bloomin’ hat clean off and as it disappeared in the distance you get that feeling, “What the heck am I doing here?”. The wind was continuing to try and blow you over the edge of the road and the witches of Pendle Hill seemed to be taking hold!
The views from the top were fantastic, you could see for miles. But what goes up must come down, so on we charged, the last two miles were downhill, the last mile running through a housing estate to the finish. With cars double parked on the pavements, on the roads, traffic trying to get in and out. Do they bother about runners? Not bloomin’ likely. “Get out of the way!”, one shouted at me, as I was running on the roofs of the cars, trying to get to the finish line and there it was, sharp turn right, through the line. 62.03 (chip time) for 133rd place and third mv65 and pb by over 90 seconds for seven miles!
You have to laugh, no tee-shirt but a Morrisons special value Christmas Pudding. Still you can not eat a tee-shirt. What a day, marks out of ten? Possibly a seven!!!!
Up the “Black and Whites”.