Report from Stephen Boddy
There was a large contingent of Otley AC runners at the start line for this year’s edition of Rombalds Stride. It is an unforgiving route even in perfect conditions so the threat of snow and the inevitable icy bogs on Ilkley Moor promised an even sterner challenge.
And so it was thus. The initial wooded downhill to Esholt gave an early indication of the amount of mud that could be expected en route and the snow covering at the trig point on Baildon Moor gave an insight into what conditions would be like on Ilkley Moor where the majority of the 22 mile long battle would be played out. Virtually all runners and walkers will have placed their feet deep into icy water on the top of Ilkley Moor and an unlucky few will have submerged their whole body as there were plenty of fallers. Dust yourself down, a quick shiver and a shake and onwards towards Burley, Menston and the final, dreaded Chevin climb. It is an especially cruel ascent of the Chevin as your legs are softened up by the fast, vertiginous, pounding tarmac descent of West Chevin Road. The climb towards the quarry would be best summarised for most as slipping and sliding and just hoping that your net movement was upwards. At the quarry car park tired athletes were met by the final group of cheerful, heroic marshals and their box of tricks, the highlights this year being jam sandwiches and fig rolls. The rolling downhill finish to the scout hut is fuelled by the glorious scent of pie and peas wafting up Moor Lane and there are few more welcome finish lines in running. First home for Otley was Ed Davies (3:12) with his annual taming of the route and Tom Lynch overcame a recent injury to finish in an impressive 3:20. Following home for Otley were Stephen Boddy, Graham Lake, Matt Podd, Hannah Lupton, Sarah Fuller, Liz Fawcett, Sara Richard, Jim Sneith, Sarah McBrinn and Mary Hampshire. Antonio Cardinale sensibly retired after an early fall.