Report from Richard Hamer
At the end of January 2016 I was a broken man; knees, ankles and feet, so I stopped this running lark. Twelve months on and the niggles had mostly gone and the love was returning, so I dug out my plimsolls and started having another go with my only ambition being to run for an hour on Saturdays; and to never race again (although I don’t think not doing something can be classed as an ambition).
And then Hannah Lupton got me drunk and offered me her Bluebell Trail place. I couldn’t say no, and that’s how I found myself just a few miles south of Halifax on Sunday with Sara Elliot, Sara Richard, Nicky Gifford and John Davies.
The Bluebell Trail is a 10-mile event put on by Stainland Lions, and it has a river crossing at the end, plus a goodie bag complete with a Lion bar – clever! The HQ is at Heath Rugby Club with the start across the road in the grounds of Clay House (a fine example of 17th century vernacular architecture).
I’d already agreed to run with Nicky and to start near the back, and to walk the hills. If I was going to do 10-miles I wanted to enjoy it and to not start any niggles again.
From Clay House the race wound its way for about half a mile through some woods and then on to a main road towards Halifax before joining the Hebble trail canal almost into the town centre. Off the towpath and then up the notorious Trooper Lane, 570ft of ascent in just over half a mile; ouch! At the top we were just under halfway, and aside from the section in the woods at the beginning it had all been tarmac.
From the top of Trooper Lane, Halifax was looking lovely in the sunshine; apart from the huge carbuncle that is the Halifax bank building. From here it was farm tracks and fields, and short sharp uphill sections with fast descents before reaching Elland Park Woods, which is where the bluebells were.
Out of the trees and back for about a mile it was road and towpath before reaching the river bank. The water was only three quarters of foot deep, and at the other side the finish lay about 50 yards away.
Full results here