My first race of the year was this weekends The Soreen Stanbury Splash fell race over at Haworth. With freezing temperatures and snow over the weekend the course was changed from the usual Stanbury Splash route to the Stoop Fell race. Racers were warned via social media about the conditions in are around the Penistone Hill Country Park and non 4×4 drivers were advised to park in Haworth.
I had convince Sara Richard in running the race and with the kind offer of a lift from Neil Reed the three of us were greeted with 4 inches of snow upon arrival in Haworth. We parked up and hiked over the hill to the cricket pavilion to register for the race.
With our £4 paid and pockets filled with Soreen lunch box bars we chatted and drank free coffee while waiting to see if there was any other brave/stupid OACers would turn up. While waiting for the start of the race the skies became dark and the snow began to fall. We had the usual start in the quarry pit and I was surprised to see a large turnout of like-minded nutters taking part in this race.
The Stoop fell race course is only 5 miles and has 800 feet of climbing; the conditions underfoot were a mixture of mud, deep icy bogs and inches of snow. Being towards the back (but not as far back as before) I looked ahead and saw a great sight of over 200 brightly coloured vests/jackets snaking up the coming hill and against the pure white snow backdrop it was a picture perfect moment, if only I had a camera.
During the assent I was unfortunately overtaken by a few runners highlighting an area I need to improve upon this year, but once we hit the flat section on the top the gap between those in front and me remained constant. However, this gap was reduced and I eventually I overtook people on the boggy decent. I had read a blog the day before on how to run downhill in fell races. So, with brain disengaged and with large bounding strides I went for it and attacked the hill, god it was so much fun and to my surprise I remained upright. With the final drag up the hill from the road and down to the cricket pavilion the race was done.
The last time I did the Stoop Fell Race route was in December 2013, and I was really pleased to learn the on Sunday I managed to get a 7 min course PB in a time of 64:09. In December of this year I shall aim for sub 60 mins.
The winner was Tom Adams (Ilkley) in 36:06 and the first lady was Linsey Brindle (Horwich) in 39:32.
First home for OAC was Chris Stacey in 166th in a time of 45:37 followed by Jim Sneath in 48:29, Neil Reed in 49:06, Dale Fox 53:41, Colin Best 54:52, Sara Richard 57:02, Sean O’Halloran 64:09 and Gloria Jackson in 70:51.