Report from Matt Podd
A midwinter treat for myself and the truly gnarly Fell racing champion, 72 year old Dave Tait – our favourite localish race. I drove us over to Todmorden in fairly good conditions, successfully getting through Keighley to arrive at the race HQ; The Staff of Life pub. Forms filled, kit checked, bollox talked about route choice and bearings, changed and off to warm up on the steep tarmac start.
This BM 8 mile Fell Race with 500m of climbing is a low-key event organised by Dan, a local fell runner. At his command we all set off and the tarmac was soon done and onto a lovely runnable climb up a zig-zag old track and then through some boggy fields and a small wood. The moors started after crossing a road and we began our circuit, initially on fairly good tracks. This however is the hors d’oeuvre before the main course which involves miles across very boggy rough ground to the trig point. Luckily the bridge has been replaced, saving the vertical peat climb out of the stream. From the trig point things get worse as to get back to the road crossing you must stumble across trackless tussocky moor on a compass bearing. Even the venerable Mr Tait took a tumble! The clag is always down for this race, but this year we were successful and arrived at the marshal.
The dessert is very sweet as you race back down the lovely climb to the finish. I had been ahead of Dave on the climb up to the trig, but he came past me over the tussocks, so I had to sprint the descent to beat him. The chap who I’d run most of the race with was glad I led him across the tussocks but ran out of steam and dropped far behind. He arrived at the finish covered head to foot in a mixture of peat and blood having had a number of minor mishaps. Dave and I were saying how much we had enjoyed the race, but he disagreed and said it was the worst race he had ever done. There’s no pleasing some folk!
We all retired to the pub to get warm and changed. Dave was so pleased he even shared his chocolate.
1. Peter Davies, Dark Peak 1.02.49, a new course record
24. Julie Darigala, Penistone 1.22.52
52. Matt Podd, Otley AC 1.44.28
58. Jeff Norman, Altringham – not often you beat an Olympian, multiple 3 Peaks winner and still holder of the UK 50km record!